Developing Healthy Internet Use For Teenagers

If you do a little research and take a little time to plan, you could be well on your way to effectively safeguarding your teen from the traps and temptations of the world wide web.

It is no secret that the internet has irrevocably changed the world.

Whether you’re young, old, or in between, the internet affects almost every aspect of your life. 

In the year 2000, about half of all American adults were using the internet. Today it’s closer to 93%.

All the screens we stare at every day are capable of accessing the internet. As a result, it is now ingrained in our culture. It’s an inescapable part of everyday life in the modern world. 

Given they have been immersed in the digital age for their entire lives, it’s only natural that the teenagers in your household might be the most active internet users.

Learn more about how teenagers use the internet and how to help them foster healthy internet habits.

Internet Use And Teens

Everywhere you look you can see the changing culture of the information age and how it has impacted teens.

  • In 2018, 95% of teens had access to a smartphone or had one themselves.
  • 45% of them spent an excessive amount of time online.
  • 88 percent of teenagers had access to a computer at home.
  • 9 out of 10 American teenagers get online at least twice a day.
  • 75% of teens have at least one active social media profile.
  • On average, American teenagers will spend almost nine hours a day online.

Some of these stats can seem overwhelming if you’re a parent trying to mitigate the internet’s influence on your child. 

If you want to tackle the problem, you must realize that the internet isn’t going anywhere.

With the rise of virtual reality and ever more futuristic tech, it appears that the dominance of the internet is here to stay. There will be no more children born and raised in the old, analog world.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

While there are many risks involved when teens use the internet, there are also benefits to raising a web-savvy teen. Some advantages include:

  • Discover and cultivate friendships with peers who share interests and values.
  • Find support and advice in various online communities.
  • Express themselves by presenting their hobbies and skills to others.
  • Easily access materials and tools to aid in their education and careers.

Be Aware of the Risks

All the rewards of internet usage aside there are many potential snares and pitfalls for an American teen online. 

Help Your Teen Develop Healthy Internet Habits

Despite the risks teenagers face when they go online, there are ways you can help keep them safe from harm.

  • Set boundaries about screen time and be clear about the consequences of breaking those boundaries. 
  • Follow through with any consequences you’ve laid down with your teen.
  • Be consistent. Don’t change boundaries and rules on screen time limits unless it’s an emergency. 
  • Be honest and realistic about the many dangers of the internet. 
  • Reinforce that internet usage is a privilege, not a right. 
  • Keep an eye out for abnormal behaviors and fluctuations in mood and personality traits.
  • Get familiar with the apps and websites that your teen likes to use the most.
  • Encourage their interest in new tech and help them explore the many ways it can benefit them in the future.
  • Provide an environment that fosters healthy and open communication between you and your teen. 
  • Utilize the latest parental control protocols. 

What Not to Do

Other than the many suggestions mentioned above, certain reactions can make the situation worse rather than better.

React calmly and steadily. Remember, the internet can be a useful tool, don’t let your fears get the best of you.

Try and protect your children from the harsh realities of the internet by omitting information.

Ban access entirely. This is nearly impossible to enforce and can be very counterproductive.

Monitor your internet usage. As adults, we often forget how much we use the internet in our daily lives and how that influences young people.

Final Thoughts

Though the information found in this article only covers a fraction of the issues we face regarding teens and the internet, there is no need to be pessimistic. 

If you do a little research and take a little time to plan, you could be well on your way to effectively safeguarding your teen from the traps and temptations of the world wide web. 


Developing Tweens' Healthy Use of Technology

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