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Should I monitor my teenager's online behavior?

Michele Borba
Psychology

Monitoring your teenager's online presence can prevent consequences beyond Internet dangers like pornography and online predators. Other reasons to monitor their online habits include:

  • Potential damaging future consequences: College admissions and employment firms screen social networking accounts and posts. Inappropriate posts or photos could jeopardize a college acceptance or job. And 39% of teens admit posting something they later regretted.
  • Teens lack impulse control: Teen brain circuitry that activates good judgment and problem-solving is still in reduced capacity, and even teen themselves admit to engaging in risky online behavior. Fifty-four percent of teens admit to demonstrating risky online behavior; 40% of teens admit they gave out personal information on sights despite knowing they shouldn’t; 64% say that most teens do things online that they wouldn’t want their parents to know about.
  • “Hands-on parenting” curbs risky teen behavior: While no guarantee, research finds that “hands-on parenting (monitoring behavior, knowing your kids’ friends, setting clear rules and not being afraid to say no) are the best way to lower risky-kid behaviors and keep teens safe both online and off.
  • Parental responsibility to guide and protect their children off and online. Period.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.