Have you ever tried to find out what your teen is doing on the internet? This is a question that must have crossed every parent’s mind. It is an ongoing debate whether or not parents should monitor their teen’s social media accounts.
While some parents think that monitoring social media of their teens is a good thing, others believe it to be an unethical, bad thing to do. They think monitoring their teen’s social media is equivalent to invading their personal space and privacy.
From an ethical point of view, parents need to consider several factors when it comes to monitoring social media of their teens. However, before finding out what their teen is doing online, we would recommend you go through some of the facts and data.
According to an article published on Pew Research Centre, 95% of teens have access to the internet and 45% say that they are using the internet all the time. Their screen time has increased eventually, and this has started worrying many parents. In fact, many teens are also worrying that they are using their phones too much.
The same article also stated that a vast majority of teens use their cell phones to pass time, connect with other people, or learn new things on the internet. Most of them are also spending lots of time on social media. For them, the use of cell phones, the internet, and social media has become a vital part of their daily routine, and they just can’t seem to cut back on the time they spend on their cell phones.
Another survey by the Pew Research Centre showed that about one-half of the parents have added their teens on Facebook to find out what they are doing on the platform, 65% have taken away cell phones from their teens for disciplinary reasons whereas 55% have limited their teen’s time spent on social media platforms.
Why Monitoring Social Media is a Good Thing?
On average, teens spend about eight hours every day on the internet. Whatever your teen does on the internet has a direct implication on their health and well-being. Parents need to set some ground rules when they first hand over a cell phone to their teens by explaining to them that their online activity will be monitored until they are mature enough to understand how the internet works.
It is important to make your teen realize the difference between acceptable and unacceptable online behaviors. They also should know how to identify online threats lurking on social media platforms. Parents must also have thorough discussions about online safety and how to get away with online dangers.
When parents communicate with their teens about social media boundaries and limitations, they can help them build responsible behavior and be accountable for all their actions and reactions.
Spending time on the internet is important for the teen’s growth and development as it brings them happiness and satisfaction. Teens can build social and communication skills albeit not personal communications.
Teens who spend time having meaningful conversations and discussions online can prepare themselves for the outside world. By having a large number of followers, they can help build their self-esteem. Their cognitive skills are developed with the help of social media communications.
While social media does have many positive influences on your teen’s life, it also has some dire implications and adverse effects. Excessive use of social media is also a cause of addiction. The more teens use social media, the more they become addicted to it.
Teens who have a social media addiction should be constantly monitored by their parents to prevent them from engaging in bad activities. Monitoring social media will help your teens stay away from online risks such as sexting, pornography, cyberbullying as well as pedophilia.
Among online risks, cyberbullying is on the rise on social media. According to research on cyberbullying on various social media platforms, it has been proven that it occurs in 23 percent of the cases. Cyberbullying incidents occur on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and message boards.
Cyberbullying threatens a teen’s online safety and security. It can trigger depression, sadness, anxiety, frustration, low self-esteem, poor academic performance, shame, and fear among teens. In extreme cases, it can also trigger teens to have suicidal thoughts.
Why Monitoring Social Media May Be a Bad Thing?
There are two different schools of thought. One is believing that monitoring your teen’s social media is a good thing and the other is believing that social media monitoring is a bad thing. The main reason for believing that social media monitoring of your teens is a bad thing is breaking the trust and invading their privacy.
The majority of the teens do not want their parents to spy on their online activity including checking their social media posts, text messages, and personal information. Many teens think that their cell phones are a sacred property that cannot be viewed by their parents. On the other hand, many believe that parents should not invade their online privacy.
Teens begin to lose trust in their parents when they start monitoring their online activity or when they take away their cell phones from them. To avoid these concerns, it is important to explain to your teens why their online activity is being monitored and the harmful effects of online dangers and communications/relationships they develop online.
So now that you have gone through both school of thoughts, let us return to the original question: Is monitoring social media activity of your teens a good or a bad thing? From our point of view, the advantages of monitoring your teen’s social media and protecting them from online dangers definitely outweigh the costs i.e. privacy and trust.
You just need to ask yourself one question: How would you feel if you did not consider monitoring your teen’s social media activity and then your teen become a victim of sexual predator or was cyberbullied by someone on one of the social media platforms? The answer itself is going to make you realize whether or not social media monitoring is important.