As a parent, it’s important to stay informed about the positive and negative ways our children use technology. Talking with your child about their online activities can help you collaboratively establish rules and boundaries that are appropriate for them.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Pitt and Davis asked teens to track how satisfied they felt with various tech-based activities. Here’s what they found:
- Social Media
Social media and online behavior have generated many anxieties in teens and their parents. Some of these concerns are valid.
For example, social media can create a sense of pressure to respond quickly, post perfect photos with witty captions and receive lots of likes. It can also expose teens to unhealthy or harmful content, and lead to social isolation when used incorrectly.
However, the influence of social media on teens is complex. In fact, a recent study found that limiting social media use to 30 minutes each day was associated with increased life satisfaction and self-esteem.
Additionally, a majority of teens in this survey don’t believe that their parents are extremely or very worried about how they use social media. And, one-third of teens say they think their parents have an accurate picture of their experiences.
- Video Games
Many parents have a hard time accepting that their children spend thousands of hours sending text messages, staying up until 2 AM scrolling social media and playing video games. However, while these behaviors can be harmful to a teenager’s mental health, experts still haven’t established a direct link between these activities and mood disorders.
In fact, some studies suggest that certain types of video games improve thinking skills. And while it may seem counterintuitive, crazyvegas online casino game playing can also strengthen social bonds.
Contrary to popular belief, gamers are not solitary creatures. In fact, two-thirds of teen gamers play with friends face-to-face and almost half of all gaming teens talk with their online friends while they’re playing. This is especially true for boys, with 32% of them reporting that they talk to their gaming friends every day or at least a few days each week. Girls, on the other hand, report lower frequencies of talking while gaming.
- Mobile Phones
The smartphones that parents buy for their kids are more than just toys—they’re also the repository and connection to their entire lives. The digital generation of teens and young adults called iGen is spending more time on their phones and social media than ever before. Many teenagers are spending nine hours a day on their phones, and their relationship with their parents is often straining because of it.
Some researchers are linking smartphone usage to increased depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. However, it’s important to note that the research is correlational—meaning that just because teens are using their smartphones more often doesn’t mean they’re suffering from mental health issues. It could be something else entirely, such as trauma or postrecession economic instability, that’s causing them to feel anxious. But, regardless of the cause, it’s clear that smartphones can be addictive and harmful.
Adolescents are at a stage of life when they are socializing online more than ever. The internet provides them with opportunities to connect and communicate with friends, access information for schoolwork, and entertainment (e.g., watching videos and movies).
While there are positive effects to using technology, there are also negatives. One of the biggest risks is a lack of face-to-face interaction with friends, family and peers. This can lead to isolation and depression. It can also lead to more impulsive behavior in the form of overuse of video online gambling in Australia games or Internet addiction.
Another concern is the impact on attention spans. It is easier for children and teenagers to focus on technology because it allows them to get immediate gratification. This can make it hard for them to sit down and read a book or write a paper without getting distracted. It can also make it harder for them to pay attention in class.