Screen time is the time spent in front of a screen — TV, computer, or video game — has become a part of everyday life for most youth and grown-ups. Although TV, the Internet, and video games can be a great source of entertainment and education, apprehensions are being voiced about disproportionate screen time and how it is disturbing children and adolescents. Today’s most standard video games are entirely immersive with a three-dimensional image which appears to surround the user. Massive digital landscapes reveal in eye-popping detail, nuanced characters advance from one level to the next. These games are intentionally conceived, with the assistance of psychology consultants, to make players want to keep playing. Today’s teenagers are more bound to this technology than any previous generation. These so-called “digital citizens” have been playing more refined games at younger ages than their parents ever did.
A teenager using the internet in moderation is not considered dangerous, but many pieces of researches have shown that too much screen time can hamper with other activities such as doing homework or engaging in physical activity. The internet is a great mode to keep up on the current news, do school research and projects, and connect with family and friends, but it can also be very dangerous.
Few reasons why the internet can be dangerous for teenagers
Made-up identities can be created
Building fresh friendships online is easy and convenient, but it is much different than doing so in person, as you can’t see who is at the other end of the computer. The internet makes it easy for someone to generate any identity in the world. They could easily fabricate a lie about themselves or they could be talking to someone deceitful on the other end of the computer.
As stated above, the internet makes it simple to generate a new, false identity. Many a time, the persons who lie about their ages are internet exploiters. They are the ones who prey adolescents and teenagers. Regrettably, many children, teenagers, and their parents cannot tell an online predator until it is too late, like when the predators try to directly solicit with children.
Multiple websites to choose from
One of the key advantages of the internet is that you have so many websites to select from. It is, in fact a great approach to research school projects. However, having so several websites to pick from can be treacherous. A child can enter a social networking website, adult chat rooms, pornographic websites, and websites that are rough and aggressive in nature.
Not All Information is private
Unfortunately, many people, with both children and parents, do not know that the information that is posted online is not always private. Most teenagers now have their MySpace profiles settings to public mode, as opposed to private mode, meaning that it is visible to everyone. There are online message boards that are thoroughly indexed by the search engines. This way others can view the conversations that were discussed, even after years. Without parental controls set-up, children can effortlessly gain entry to any type of website with the help of a standard internet search.
Teenagers are in Control
When children use the internet, they are the ones who are in command. This can be okay if the child is a grown-up and mature. You may train your children not to talk with strangers online, give out their phone numbers, or share pictures with strangers, or any other personal information, but that doesn’t mean that they will follow your instructions.
Tips for parental control
Parental controls can assist you in your struggles to keep your kids’ internet involvements harmless, entertaining, and useful. Finding what type of parental control is best suitable is wholly based on your family’s needs. Some families can survive with simple, free browser settings to filter unsuitable content. While certain families need aid in limiting the screen time. Though, few people are ok with only casual peeps on their kids’ devices.
- Block websites and filter content
To limit what your kids can search for, the top preference is to permit ‘Google SafeSearch’. It will avoid entry to particular websites and limit your kid’s exposure to unfitting content. Make use of the parental controls settings that are an integral part of your device’s operating system. Every major operating system offers settings to keep kids from accessing stuff you don’t want them to see. The settings apply globally to everything the computer accesses. Each works differently and has its own pros and cons.
- Practice Safe Downloading
Inspect the age rating of the online games your children are playing. Download games from reputed game developers and online app stores only. Usually, such gaming developers email you a direct link with an attachment to the content.
- Enable Parental Control Settings and 3rd Party Services
A full-featured, third-party parental control service will give you control over all of your child’s devices. Here you can facilitate advanced privacy and security features, set a master password, and even install a parental control monitoring app.
- Be Aware of Potential Scams
Explain to your children that nothing good is ever free. There is no such thing as free lunch. In fact, online predators are aiming susceptible people by attracting them to instructional videos explaining how to earn free in-game content.
- Manage all devices on the network, limit screen time, filter content, and turn off Wi-Fi
There are devices that pair with your existing router and offer management features such as the ability to break entry to the internet, build time limits, and add content filters. Some internet service providers offer parental control features that apply to all devices on the network.
Here are a few additional tips for setting screen time limits with your child or teenagers
- Make sure that your child knows how to report or block other players who engage in online harassment or any other unsuitable behaviour.
- TV, video games and the Internet should be considered as a privilege earned after daily activities and errands are accomplished.
- Do other family activities that do not include watching TV or being online.
- Be an ideal role model for them. Children and teenagers copy what their parents do, so it is vital to limit your own internet use and time spent watching TV.