Monitoring verses Mentoring Your Teen’s Online Behavior
Today it’s more than drug addiction parents are concerned about, we have the digital addiction. It has been rampant to the point that there are teen help programs designed to detox teens from their devices.
When should you remove your teenager from the Internet?
The Internet is an amazing source of information, news and culture. But the Internet also has a dark side that isn’t always appropriate for all ages.
Perhaps that is why parents have stepped in to monitor how their children are exposed to the Internet. It’s a tough job, but it’s a responsibility that a parent needs to keep up with – both online and offline.
10 Reasons Why Parents Consider Shutting Down Their Teen’s Digital Connection:
- Pornography: The Internet has plenty of valuable and useful information. It also has a great deal of highly offensive pornographic material that is not suitable for children. Parents can exercise their discretion in monitoring their children’s intake of pornography and have a responsibility to do so. Without their careful monitoring, a child can be exposed to things that they have no business seeing.
- Hateful Content: The freedom of expression the Internet allows can expose some truly hateful opinions. Teens should not be exposed to this sort of hateful content, and it’s important that parents step in to prevent teens, especially children, from hearing overtly hateful messages.
- Religious Reasons: The Internet is the ultimate open forum where people can express a dizzying array of views on any subject. For those parents who have deeply held religious beliefs, exposing their children to discriminatory messages may not be tolerated. This might be a good reason to step in and take the Internet away from a kid who is snooping around in all the wrong places.
- They Should be Exercising: Whatever happened to playing outside? Many children spend too much time on the Internet and not enough time exercising. To help combat the epidemic of obesity, parents should step in and be sure that their kids are getting enough exercise. One great way to do this is to take away their kids’ favorite distraction: the Internet.
- Punishment: Now that kids rely on the Internet for everything, taking away a child’s access to the Internet can be an effective punishment. Threatening to take away Internet or Internet access may keep even the most unruly kids on their best behavior.
- Age: There is no official age limit on who can access the Internet, but parents have a good idea of who is too young to surf the web and should enforce those common sense ideas. If a kid is barely in Kindergarten, they may not need an iPhone or Internet access. Parents should use their discretion when it comes to children and the Internet.
- Excess Usage: If a kid is using the Internet way too much, a parent should step in and take it away. Why? Because many negative behaviors can be correlated with over dependence on the Internet at a young age, such as anti-social behavior, obesity and poor academic performance. Parents should closely monitor how long their kids spend on the net and take the appropriate steps to ensure that they aren’t surfing too much.
- Money Reasons: High speed Internet access can be expensive. In these tough economic times, sacrifices must be made. For some families, the expensive Internet access their kids enjoy may be on the chopping block. When facing a dismal financial reality, the Internet is a luxury that not every kid or family will be able to afford.
- Security: The Internet can be a dangerous place. From identity theft to sexual predators, kids are at risk when they surf the web. A responsible parent will know when to step in and ensure that their children are surfing safely. If they can’t surf safely, kids shouldn’t surf at all.
- Life Lessons: Going without something you enjoy is an important life lesson. You may not always get your way, and life isn’t always instantaneously gratifying. By taking away the ultimate source of instant gratification, for whatever reason, kids can learn a valuable life lesson that you can’t always get what you want.
This is about finding balance in your teen’s life. Keep in mind you want to build trust in your child’s online and offline relationship.
If they are being harassed (cyberbullied) online, you want them to feel comfortable coming to you without the fear of having their life-line, (the Internet), removed from them.
Shutting down devices is about health and wellness for your family, as well as if they are misusing it. However if they are a victim, be sure you are compassionate and non-judgmental. They need you. Your offline parenting about online life should be in place to help them with these times.