Keeping your Teen Model Safe Online

For any parent keeping track of your teen during their online life is impractical and can be the source of family disharmony. Teens will accuse parents of spying or being controlling even though they’re only looking after them. Typically, teenagers use the Internet to be teenagers. Researchers reviewed teen blogs and chat groups and found what many experts suspected, that standard teen issues — family, peers, romance, and identity constitute the bulk of the online discussions. Besides communicating, teens typically use the Internet to get news about current events; purchase books, clothing, or music; or get information about health, weight loss, teen modelling, and fitness. The common idea that fraud and pornography websites are the most dangerous things online might actually be incorrect.

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The most common problems teens face online relate to abuse and bullying. There have been numerous cases in recent years of horrific situations in which bullying has gone way too far. The rate of these cases increases at the same speed as internet literacy increases amongst the teenage age group. More homes than ever have at least one computer, most with at least three internet-ready devices. The Internet is also a place where anyone can say anything, where knowing the difference between fact and fiction is harder than most teens or adults realize. Some kids seem unbothered by seeing adults drunk, while others are alarmed. Talk to yours and try to be a positive influence, perhaps encouraging more days out than days in and controlling internet useage.

Either way, you should talk about it. While you may feel unhappy that your child witnessed something ugly, it could be valuable. For teenagers, it can be hard to connect the apparently light-hearted drinking they see at parties with some of the serious, long-term consequences. Combined with a sense of glamour associated with teen modelling perhaps your child might consider themselves more adult than they really are. You know differently. For parents worried about their teenager’s possible substance abuse, online activity can seem as hazardous as a boozy, unsupervised party. Nonetheless, if a teenager is using drugs or leaning in that direction, the Internet provides ample reinforcement. A motivated teen can find a mountain of drug information online, including YouTube videos of teens tripping on cough medicine and information about drugs that defy standard urine tests. The Internet has become available almost for everyone. Anonymity has turned loose.

 

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