According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, as at June 2015, 82% of all teenagers were online in the previous four weeks with females (85%) being shown to use online platforms more than males (78%), and those teenagers residing in cities (84%) were more likely to have accessed the internet than those living in regional (79%) areas. Further, it was found that home was the most common place for teenagers to go online, with 98 per cent of internet users connecting from home.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority reported that as at June 2015, 74% of online teenagers accessed the internet between 5pm-10pm, 28% between 10pm-midnight, and 8% between midnight-6.59am. Teenagers who accessed the internet mostly used a computer (91%), with 78% using a mobile device, and 39% used a tablet. It was noted that the top online sites used by teenagers were Google (90%), YouTube (86%), and Facebook (73%) to other common sites being Blogger/ Twitter/ Pinterest/ Instagram (44%), Netflix (25%), and Minecraft (11%). The statistics appear to be alarming but it is important to know the facts so we can better support our adolescents…
Having an online presence has its benefits, it helps us to connect with others, step outside our comfort zone and build new networks, creates learning opportunities and provides educational skills, political and social awareness, enables creativity and self-expression through online platforms, access online support for counselling confidentially, and helps to develop reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.
However, being online has many concerning and negative impacts for our adolescents. A few concerns we may have involve cyber-bullying, finding offensive or illegal content, sexting, unwanted contact, image-based abuse, inappropriate sharing of personal information, and difficulty with balancing online time with other commitments. What can you do to help and support your teenager given these key issues?
- You can help to educate your teenager on the facts by exploring the online world together, providing the statistics on internet use and common concerns, and educating them on their digital reputation.
- Develop a routine for your teenager where they may only access the internet during certain times of the day. For example, 7-8pm may be the time allocated for your teenager to access the internet to help with keeping a balanced timetable. It is best to ensure technology use ceases 30 minutes before bedtime to help with better sleep.
- If you don’t know about the e-safety commission and the resources available to report and remove dangerous, damaging and explicit material as well as online bullying material, then get online now and check it out. We can all work together to keep our teenagers safe, visit: https://www.esafety.gov.au
- Lastly, develop a family social media plan using the healthychildren.org website. The aim of a social media plan for your family is to protect and prepare for common issues that occur with internet use that aligns with your family values, purpose, and parenting style.
Please contact Crystal Clear Psychology Solutions if you need further information or wish to discuss your teenager and internet use furthermore.