Almost 93% of today’s teenagers (ages 12 to 17) spend time online. Of that same demographic, almost three quarters of them already have social networking profiles. And nearly half have posted photos and videos somewhere online.
This just in: the Internet is not, repeat not, a fad.
It’s the most natural thing in the world for parents not to understand the trends and pop culture references of their children. And hey, it’s funny, right? Think of every sitcom you’ve ever seen where the older parents try to be “cool” in the eyes of their kids. Or think back to your own parents, if they ever tried the same. Makes you L-O-L, doesn’t it? But at least with music and television, parents are familiar with the medium.
The Internet is a whole new ballgame.
Not only do parents these days not understand the things their children are watching, listening to, and participating in on the Internet, but a great many of them don’t fully understand the Internet itself — what it is, what it can do, and how far it can really reach.
For those people who think that things like social media monitoring software and Instagram monitoring tools are a little too “Big Brother” to be good parenting, consider the online “beauty pageant.” These are impromptu “contests” where teen girls post photos of themselves on Instagram, and the world at large — at large, mind you, not just their friends or their peers at school — votes on whether the individual is “hot” or not.
No parent in their right mind would want their daughter (or their son, for that matter) to subject themselves to that kind of criticism — and there is plenty of it, in the form of hateful comments, degrading remarks, and wholly inappropriate statements from people who would never say such things face-to-face.
Instagram monitoring can help parents address this kind of activity, and if not put an immediate stop to it, or at least open up a channel of dialogue with their kids, to discuss things such as self-worth, popularity, and even sexual predation.
Is knowing how to monitor Internet activity (using things like Instagram monitoring tools) a violation of your child’s privacy? No more so than being in the bathroom with them as they were learning to use the potty. Until they know what to do and what not to do, it’s a parent’s job to show them.