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Apr 25, 2016
According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, half of parents check their teens’ messages and 65% have taken away the Internet as a form of punishment. Most parents understand that times have changed and their children’s lives are being affected by their online choices. The challenge for today’s parents is that online activities and popular apps change every day. Parents may be surprised to find out what their children are really doing online. Here’s what we have found.
1. Teens spend 9 hours a day using media (according to Common Sense Media) Okay, maybe not all kids but your child may be spending more time than you realize. When parents were asked to guess how much time their child was spending online, the common guess was three hours. Tweens (ages 8 to 12) spend an average of 6 hours online every day, while teens spend an average of 9 hours a day online. Keep in mind, these hours do not include their online activity for school or homework- it is purely for entertainment purposes. Are you surprised? Keep reading.
2. They talk with strangers… often Although they may have been taught from a very young age to never talk to strangers, it is almost a guarantee that your children are talking with people they have never met before. With messaging apps such as ASKfm, WhatsApp, and KIK, that encourage anonymity, most children interact with strangers on a daily basis. It is becoming more and more common among tweens and teens to connect with strangers on messaging apps then invite them to connect with them via Instagram and/or Facebook. If you think KIK and other social media is a safe way for your kids to meet people, think again.
This isn’t just a problem with social media, but also with video games. Live streaming of video games encourages interaction with total strangers of all ages, all around the world.
3. More than 33% of adolescents have received threats online Cyberbullying is more common than most parents think; over half of children have been bullied or engaged in bullying online.
Cyberbullying is not always done with malicious intent. Young people may be using the Internet to make fun of friends; however, when it’s done online, it’s displayed for EVERYONE to see and can have long-term effects such as denied applications for colleges and jobs.
Moral of the story? If you can’t beat them, join them; have social media accounts and download the apps that your children are using. Know what your child is doing, monitor their activities*, and follow our blog to stay current on the latest apps and fads.
*Interested in social monitoring software? Net Nanny now offers customers purchasing the Family Protection Pass a free subscription to Net Nanny Social ($20 value). Net Nanny Social lets parents monitor their child’s friends, pictures, and posts on social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+ and LinkedIn.