How do we keep on top of what our teens are exposed to online whilst still allowing them privacy?

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Parent Peer Supporter

How do we keep on top of what our teens are exposed to online whilst still allowing them privacy?

How do we keep on top of what our teens are exposed to online, whilst still allowing them privacy and the chance to make safe mistakes?

 

This question came to mind after a recent discussion in the forum about the tv series '13 Reasons Why'. It's quite a controversial show amongst mental health organisations, and a hot topic amongst teens.

 

My daughter first told me about it, saying she didn't like it. Then it was brought up here and I decided to watch it. (Lesson - in future check out what my daughter is talking about!

I'm lucky my daughter is very self aware and took care about passing over content that could trigger her - on this occasion (!) My point is though that she brought it to my attention. It made me question is there anything I can do so I'm one step ahead?

 

She is 15 now so she needs some privacy and space to learn as she's maturing. As such I had stopped requiring login details and acceptance that I was checking on things for her safety. Her schooling is online, her friends are online, books online, games online - so much online! How do we best look after our teens in this environment?

 

I'd love to hear if you have a system in your house that works successfully, or any suggestions!

 

 

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: How do we keep on top of what our teens are exposed to online whilst still allowing them privacy

I'm not really sure how except that we now have each other here to draw on so if I see something I'm concerned about I'll mention it so everyone else gets a heads-up Smiley Very Happy 

Super contributor

Re: How do we keep on top of what our teens are exposed to online whilst still allowing them privacy

Such a great question @taokat It's so simple when they're little, you set the parental controls and manage the exposure to inappropriate content as it happens. But when it's related to teenagers your daughter's age, just as you point out, they are at an age where they need privacy and many have earned it.  I also think it's virtually impossible to preempt everything they might encounter. My 14-year-old daughter is always showing me the most obscure things her and her friends have found on the internet. There's no way I could anticipate what she might be seeing.

 

In my view one of the best options is to keep an open, running dialogue happening. Discussing content as it comes up. Asking them how it affects them and helping them learn to become discerning viewers. So you ultimately get the result you did with your daughter who came to you about '13 Reasons Why'.

 

I also agree with @LovingThruBlue that using this space to help keep each other up to date and aware of what's around is a great solution. 

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Parent Peer Supporter

Re: How do we keep on top of what our teens are exposed to online whilst still allowing them privacy

I think that's a great idea @LovingThruBlue. I will do the same.

 

My daughter's the same @Ngaio-RO - she comes to me with all sorts of different things found online. And that's it isn't, we cannot anticipate what they might be seeing. Open discussion I think is our best way of helping them process what they're exposed to as well.

Prolific scribe

Re: How do we keep on top of what our teens are exposed to online whilst still allowing them privacy

Great to see what others do regarding wifi and content watched.

To be frank ... dare I . I censor nothing online, or police . I have a g13 and a b16. Ofcourse I have a fair idea of what they do with their time whilst in my care at home.

However they are. It always in my care or in my home. Past has taught me that they have been exposed to more outside of the home than inside, at friends and school.

There was a time that I changed modems, ISP, learnt how to filter mac addresses of each device i the house, set times in usage and set restrictions.

It was unrealistic - I would take the modem to bed and work with me also.

It was no way to live - I went into complete reversal and spoke of trust to my children amongst many things . I allow my children much and hope that mistakes are made and that we are able to talk about real world responsibilities, healthy relationships.

My children are learning to openly talk on many subjects to me allowing me into their confusions of making out the works of drugs, Suicide, healthy eating, alcohol, gender talks, sexuality and many other judgments and values which are evolving within my teens and being made aware of in their environment.

We do not watch news at home, yet at school it is talked about and studied . We do not choose to watch Netflix latest Suicide episodes but it enters our reality.

I allow My teens to make their way and mistakes and sit with unconditional love and hold space for them to grow I the way they choose - I know they make a difference I this world simply being their amazing selves as they are learning to be stay true to how they feel and being their own teachers
Parent Peer Supporter

Re: How do we keep on top of what our teens are exposed to online whilst still allowing them privacy

Hey @Red21, I think talking to our teens and having open communication is the the most realisitic answer too. As you say, they find things out through other means, so by shutting it off at home might not be so productive in having that open communication. It sounds like you have loving and supportive relationship with your kids which can only help them to find their way in the world Smiley Happy

Super frequent scribe

Re: How do we keep on top of what our teens are exposed to online whilst still allowing them privacy

Talk, talk and more talk. I have found with both my kids, (my eldest turned 21 a few weeks ago) the best approach is to make sure they know they can come to you to talk about anything. Nothing is off limits. They then learn to know they can come to us and discuss anything they have seen and may be concerned about, or questions about things their friends are discussing. Unfortunately we need to let them experience things in this world, both good and bad,. But when they know they are being supported and can be heard it goes a long way.
Super contributor

Re: How do we keep on top of what our teens are exposed to online whilst still allowing them privacy

I'm the same @Red21 I don't impose any controls on the 14 year old just the 7 year old.
Parent Peer Supporter

Re: How do we keep on top of what our teens are exposed to online whilst still allowing them privacy

Thank you for your response @Big_Crab. I think we have a consensus is that communication is our most powerful solution for our teens. I agree with the fact that if we can set up trusted and open communication with our kids, we are in the best position to help and support them deal with whatever they come across online.