Why Excessive and Unmonitored Internet and Device Usage for Teenagers is Not Okay
The cyber revolution is bringing risks.
The cyber revolution is bringing with it risks through desktop and laptop computers located at home, friends’ homes, work, libraries, stores, schools, Internet cafes, wireless connections, cell phones, internet games (i.e., Xbox, Play station). These risks are huge and are everywhere in form of:
Sexting is sending sexual messages, pictures, or videos through cell phones.
Easy access to pornography. Teenagers who can’t browse through a sexually explicit magazine in a store can easily view explicit images and videos online.
Cyber Bullying. Through the use of chat rooms, e-mail, instant messaging, “blogs” and even online games, adult strangers can establish direct one-to-one contact with teenagers. Teenagers can be easily misled to do things that they ordinarily would not do. It is easy for a teenager to reveal more, sometimes much more, than they should.
Video Networking: Registrations are fairly easy and have graphic and explicit videos – pornography, violence, pedophilia. Unsolicited “push” pornography and e-mail links are very prevalent and are sent to everyone – including teenagers and children.
Teenagers using search engines to locate legitimate information can receive links to pornographic sites.
Warning signs. Set off the alarm if your teenager:
- Significantly increases online time.
- Receiving calls, texts, or emails from someone you don’t know.
- Quickly exit chat, email, websites and other activities when you are close by.
- Increases use of new slang words and have inappropriate interest in getting sexual knowledge, withdraws from family and friends.
- Begins using new screen names or an online account.
- Is reluctant to discuss what activities he is involved in.
What Can You Do as a Parent?
- Learns everything you can about computers, the internet and related technology. Develop and maintain proficiency through use.
- Take time to discuss concerns' agree on ground rules for devices and internet usage. Set reasonable rules and expectations.
- Place the computer in a “well-trafficked” area and not in the bedroom or a secluded area.
- Ensure that they do not divulge detailed personal information on chat, emails, or social networking sites.
- Know your teenager’s account passwords and screen names.
- Consider using computer and internet management software that can filter and block adult content. View history of internet usage and checklists of websites visited and chat sessions.