Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Teenager's Internet Use

In my home, everyone uses the internet to get information for reports, the news, to shop, and to communicate with friends. We are fairly typical of families these days – in fact, more than half of American families with children now have Internet access.

While the Internet is a useful tool, it also poses challenges for parents who want to protect their children from inappropriate content.

In a recent study appearing in the Journal of Marriage and Family, researchers used data from a national survey of online teenagers and their parents to develop a profile of parents’ internal rule setting. Sixty percent of American parents with Internet access said that they regulate their teenager children’s Internet use by limiting the time they can spend online and by checking the Web sites their teens use. Another option is to install software to block questionable Web sites, and about 44% of parents reported using this option.

Parents who use the Internet with their teens are more likely to regulate Internet use, although older teens are less likely to have many rules.

You might be surprised that the research revealed that fathers are more likely than mothers to check the Websites their children visit and parents with lower education are more likely to put monitoring software on their home computers.

More information is needed to better understand the challenges of the Internet for families. But, understanding the opportunities and the risks of the Internet may help parents make decisions about the access they allow their teens.

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