How to keep teenagers safe on the internet; advice for parents

Updated: Mar 13


Every household in the UK today has access to an internet connection. 93% of all households in the UK had access to the internet in 2019. The internet can be very useful in our everyday lives and a great resource for learning, if used positively by teenagers. They can access information and experience learning opportunities, from the comfort of their home, to enhance their talents and improve their creativity.

However, with this great resource comes potential danger, if usage is not regulated. Nine out of 10 teenagers in the UK use social media, this should be a growing concern because it directly affects their wellbeing and there is growing concern about its impact on their mental health.


Prolonged and unregulated usage of the internet creates a number of outcomes however, three dangerous ones stand out.



Inactivity

When using the internet, teenagers can find themselves sitting in the same place for hours. Physical exercise which engages the whole body is no longer common place. This has a number of health repercussions such as contributing to obesity or leading to sleep disorders since teenagers would rather be on the internet with their social circle than sleep.


Sexual Exploitation

According to a study conducted by the Oxford University, teenagers who use the internet two to three hours on an hourly basis were more likely to fall prey to sexual predators. Pornography is a multi-billion industry which sees teenagers as a lucrative market. Some companies have not worked hard enough to prevent teenagers from gain access to their adult content. The lax age authenticate process adopted by some is witness to this.


Cyberbullying

Teenagers may use the internet to bully others. Cyberbullying is common on social media, an issue that happens outside of the classroom can become something that impacts on learning. Girls were particularly vulnerable to cyber-bullying, which can open the door to psychological distress. Many times, the bullied feel worthless, embarrassed, less important and sadly in some cases may commit suicide. As the usage of internet are increasing by day, cases of cyberbullying are also increasing.

What is the best way to regulate internet usage among teenagers? In 2019, UK researchers proposed parents should ban phones from bedrooms after 22:00 and encourage more physical activity among their children. In this study, in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, a representative group of more than 12,000 teenagers at school in England was interviewed over three years, from the age of 13 to 16. Written by Christopher Labinjo for the Up2Science GCSE programme Website - Email - Facebook - Instagram - Twitter

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