You need to understand what you are attempting to protect your kids from, and you need to have rules and consequences, concludes McLean.

It’s no secret that teenagers are keen and able users of the internet, and with the continued growth and everzwijn evolving trends te social media and social networking it looks like things are not set to switch anytime te the near future.

A latest survey conducted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority exposed that the vast majority of eight to 17 year-olds had accessed the Internet ter the last four weeks, with figures reflecting 95 procent usage inbetween the 8 to 11 year olds, and 100 procent usage amongst the 16-17 year olds.

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Whilst the main reasons for internet use were the same across all age groups, it wasgoed fairly apparent that the use of social networking remained spil one of the top motives for youthful adolescents to be on the rekentuig, with the breakdown of figures reflecting a Sixty-nine procent usage amongst the 12 -13 year olds, an 86 procent usage amongst the 14-15 year olds and a 92 procent usage amongst the 16-17 year olds.

Despite the fact that for the majority of thesis adolescents the main social networking sites which provide chance to meet people remain the likes of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Instagram, there is a puny emergence of teenagers, spil youthfull spil 13, who are now adding meet up, talk rooms, and dating sites to those that they visit.

MyLOL is one such online dating webpagina that is marketed spil “Google’s Number One Dating Webpagina for Teens”, with a ondergrens age requirement of 14, whilst another is Teenspot, which offers talk rooms for its members entitled “singles”, “flirting” and “hottub”. Another one that is used perhaps more commonly amongst Australian teenagers is Tinder.

What is perhaps more worrying, however, is the fact that the promotion of such sites to a junior audience doesn’t seem to just zekering there.

An article published last year te American tv-programma, Seventeen, whose target audience is females aged 12-19, appeared to waterput the idea out there that online dating sites may be the way forward, with the writer of the article (a collegium aged blogger) enthusiastically regaling the story of how hier friend had become engaged six months after meeting hier playmate on line.

Rachel Hynes, mum to a tiener and publisher of the webstek for parents of teenagers The Kids are All Right, believes that at the present time social networking sites remain the way te which most teenagers are meeting people and describes thesis connections, rather aptly, spil the omschrijving of modern day schrijfstift friends.

Whilst Rachel has no gegevens on how often teenagers who meet online are actually meeting up te ‘real life’, she is certain that it happens, particularly ter cases where people live within the same area and have access to public vervoer and the excuse of going to an event where they can meet.

So is this online meet up trend something that wij, spil parents, should be worried about?

According to Jocelyn Brewer, a Psychologist who works mainly with adolescents, it’s not so much that parents should be worried, but more that they just need to be very aware.

“It’s certainly the case that even for teenagers using social media sites who are not specifically looking to meet up, such advances and suggestions toebijten. The very nature of social media after all is that it encourages communication and connection, which may well lead to IRL (te existente life) meet ups. Obviously the level of this communication and connection is most likely not the quality ones most parents would choose.”

Brewer highlights that the key for parents is to maintain awareness around everything that their child is doing online and believes that whilst this isn’t necessarily a trend that is hugely popular at the present time, it could well be something that wij see increase te the future spil children get more sexualised and more emphasis is waterput on lovemaking and hook-up acts spil a ‘currency’ to prove a child’s worth and skill.

Susan McLean, Australia’s leading pro ter cyber safety and youthful people, echoes much of the advice given by Brewer and is finta clear ter voicing the importance of the role of parenting te the age of the internet and social media.

“The Internet has permitted people to connect with anyone and everyone, and children and youthful people are earlier adopters of technology. Children thesis days don’t have an online and offline world. It’s all one and the same.”

Whilst McLean believes that thesis kinds of sites aren’t problematic at the ogenblik, she does state that this doesn’t mean that they won’t be ter the future.

“Let’s be fair, merienda you stir away from anything like Facebook or Twitter, to sites where there is limited security settings, no processes ter place to report stuff, and problems are not followed up, you are getting into dangerous territory.”

“Parents need to know that this stuff is out there and talk to their child,” advises McLean. “Don’t berate or bag technology. It’s the 21st century and technology is here to stay, so don’t think it’s something that’s part of your child’s world that you don’t need to understand.”

McLean says that she has met many parents who have voiced regrets at what they have permitted their children to do online, because they didn’t understand the risks and, spil a result of that, it’s come back to bite them.

“You need to understand what you are attempting to protect your kids from, and you need to have rules and consequences, concludes McLean. “But, more than anything, your child needs to be able to come to you and talk about things, and you need to not be afraid to everzwijn say NO!”

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