Teens everywhere are using the computer to connect to family, friends and even strangers. My Space and MSN are two very popular avenues they use to communicate with one another. Teens love the convenience of being able to log online and talk with people from all around the word. Unfortunately, parents are less than enthusiastic about such sites. If you are the parent of a teenager, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the Internet.
In Australia, nearly 93% of all children have a computer they can use at home. Of those students, 83% have access to the Internet. Teens use the Internet for a variety of reasons. 63% of kids use it for sending and receiving emails. 59% of use is for instant messenger, such as MSN. With such high percentages, it is clear why it is so important for parents to be involved with their kids’ computer usage.
MySpace: the ins and outs
MySpace is a website that allows your child to post blogs, post pictures and send messages back and forth to anyone connected online. My Space allows people from any part of the world to send messages back and forth. The site also allows people to search for other people with certain demographics. This site is probably one of the most popular sites among teenagers.
MSN: The ins and outs
MSN allows user to access their Hotmail email along with many other features. One of the main features teen love about MSN, is the messenger program. With MSN messenger, teens can chat with others who also have the messenger program. The use of a messenger program often interrupts teens who are supposed to be working on their homework. Instead of concentrating on their homework, they are distracted by messages popping up from their friends, who are trying to chat with them.
The risk to teens:
Like a lot of things teenagers try out, there are risks to using the Internet. Predators fill the Internet just looking for vulnerable people to prey on. Often times, they will pretend they are teenagers in order to gain trust. Once a bond is formed, they may ask to meet with your teenager. Ensure your children never give out their personal information, name, age, location, school, sporting team etc.
Interruption to study or homework:
Czerwinski, a leading expert in interruption science, says, “The danger of interruptions is not really the interruption – it’s the havoc they wreak with memory; what on earth was I just doing?” Although we believe teenagers are far better than any generation at multitasking their flow of work will suffer when MSN or MySpace pop up to alert them that someone wants to chat. It can take anywhere between 5 and 25 minutes to return, with the same kind of attention, to the task they were working on.
When completing work that requires flow, such as writing an essay, it is best to turn off all programs that pop up at you. If working on an assignment that requires you to multitask then the distractions are not so bad. Managing the distractions is the most important thing, and some teens are not great at controlling this. Software programs are a great way to monitor and control your teen’s use of the Internet. There are many great ones available – if you would like to know more you can email me directly.
The Internet can be a fascinating place when used properly. Begin by educating your pre-teen or teen on how to safely use the Internet. Become an involved parent with your child’s Internet usage. With some proper guidance, the Internet can be a fun and safe place. So the next time your teen wants to log on, be sure they are equipped with proper Internet safety.