A recent study conducted by the Child Mind Institute in New York City and others reveals that American parents have concerns about their teen / Children’s internet use, fearing exposure to cyberbullying, harmful content, and potential addiction.
The survey of around 1,000 parents showed over 22% worry about their teen being dependent on the internet, with twice as many concerned about internet addiction compared to substance addiction.
The study indicates that while parents are anxious about the negative aspects of internet use, they also appreciate the positive impact, such as bringing immediate and extended family closer together.
The research emphasizes the need for balance in understanding both the benefits and harms of internet use among adolescents. The study also highlights the role of parenting styles and the importance of active monitoring and communication between parents and their children regarding internet use.
While parents often focus on how much time their kids spend online, Prinstein suggested that what they’re doing on the internet might be more important.
Watching videos on TikTok with negative content is different than reading the news or texting with friends, he said.
“The question for a lot of parents is, ‘What am I doing to make sure that their time is quality time rather than just how much time?’” Prinstein said.
“Are they connecting with friends? Are they enhancing relationships with people that they know are really the people they say they are?” he said. “Or are they just going down a rabbit hole without realizing how long they’ve been on and then feeling regret, remorse, and exhaustion,” researcher added.
“Monitoring that is REALLY important,” he said.
The researcher released a health advisory in the spring with recommendations for teen and preteen social media use. The mental health organization compared training in social media to getting a driver’s license, with value in learning the rules of the road.