Just a few decades ago, parents used to worry about how much time their teenagers were spending watching television along with the kinds of programs they chose. It was a fight to the finish to get them off the couch and doing something, anything but sitting there glued to the tube. There was no interaction with other humans and certainly homework and chores were being left undone. To many professionals who work with students, this was actually a worse enemy than the Internet could ever be for several reasons. Here are just a few of them.
The Internet Is More Than Entertainment
While there are sites which are purely entertainment and kids can watch all kinds of programming, the same as found on network and cable TV, it is also so much more. The World Wide Web offers teens endless possibilities, and this is why many parents help their children plan their futures by exploring the world in which they live.
Students having trouble in school can get help with those bothersome subjects without any one of their friends being the wiser. Tutors coming in and out of the home are easily recognizable by peers, but who can see that your child is accessing Biology Junction to master the concepts of the human anatomy?
Social Media Helps Develop Social Skills
So many parents worry about their child’s time spent on social media, but they also fail to consider that this is a way for their son or daughter to develop social skills in a less threatening environment. Cyber bullying is all over the Internet but that is the fault of the parents, not of the children. Let your child use social media to learn how to communicate with peers, but also closely monitor those interactions. The key is to talk to your children about any issues they are having.
Sometimes a listening ear can give them the opportunity to work out, for themselves, problems they are having with peers. Social media is good for social development, but parents must stay involved. Help your teen understand the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior online as well as in the physical world.
A World of Information at the Click of a Mouse
Finally, the one huge benefit the Internet has to offer your child is that it is a repository for a world of information. Literally anything and everything your child is curious about can be found on the Web and that is, in itself, a wonderful tool. Sometimes one little meme can inspire your child to explore a side of themselves they never knew existed. Other times, teens develop a passion for something that will go on to be their life’s career.
The Internet can be informative, but it can be motivational as well. It’s up to the parents to see how it is used. Achieve a healthy balance between guiding and policing their browsing habits. There comes a point when you need to step back enough to give your teen a chance to grow. The Internet offers that space, but always with the understanding that you will intervene if necessary. The Internet isn’t your enemy if used wisely. Remember that and help your child make good choices. It’s a win-win solution for all.