Let’s face it: the argument “I used to be your age once!” doesn’t really work so well with parents explaining rules and restrictions to their kids. Even though parents have experienced those teenage years before, there are two big problems with this argument:
1. Chances are, it’s been a long time since the parent was at that age, and it’s likely that he/she has forgotten just how difficult it was to navigate becoming an adult;
2. When parents were at that age, they didn’t have access to so much digital technology. There were no cell phones, no high-tech video game systems, and if the phrase “Facebook” was used at all, it probably sounded very, very alarming.
It’s common for parents and kids alike to become frustrated by everything. Parents want to give their teens some room to grow and make mistakes, and teens want to be trusted and not have their parents monitor internet activity 24/7. The problem is, it’s getting increasingly difficult to protect your kids online without installing extensive social media monitoring software. But why?
- Peer-on-peer bullying is especially prevalent, harmful, and difficult to regulate on social media websites. Even though 68% of teens today agree that cyberbullying is a problem, 95% of teens on social media sites say that they have witnessed cyberbullying take place and have seen their peers neglect to speak up against the bullying.
- It’s easy to access multi-media content that contains inappropriate language, depictions of drug abuse, and absurd over-sexualized messages and pictures. It’s very easy for these subjects to make their way into the messages and posts of teens themselves.
- Law enforcement agencies are becoming more adept at detecting and catching online predators who target young kids, but some predators still manage to sneak through the cracks.
Considering that experts estimated that over 90% of teens ages 12 to 17 go online regularly, and about 73% of teens have active profiles on social media websites, as a parent, you’ve probably already realized that it’s getting much harder to protect your kids online — but that it’s absolutely crucial to do something about it.
But what do you think? Is it more effective for parents to have open discussions regarding tips for internet safety, or should parents just go with an internet activity monitoring tool? Tell us what you think over in the comments section!