Originally published as 61 Tenn. For educational use only.
Younger generations such as teenagers, unlike their parents' generations, generally socialize, hang out, communicate, and share pictures and videos online rather than in person. While getting the young people out of their home and have them meet array of people and places, it also rose some security and safety concerns.
Digital natives prefer to text rather than talk on the phone. They do not listen or leave voice mails, and prefer to socialize on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram rather than on the playground or at the town square. Some young people, primarily teenagers, spend too much time in front of a computer screen.
Some spend up to 20 hours a day, seven days a week. Spending countless hours a day, every day, on gaming or perusing the Internet can interfere with young people's emotional, physical, and intellectual development.
However, sometimes it may be just a phase. Controlling the use of online devices and using parental control software is generally successful only with pre-teen children.
Unlike young parents, older digital immigrant parents' concerns regarding the digital native's use of online technology is often rooted in misunderstanding, ignorance, and unfounded fears. It is important for parents to realize that when your children are online they are generally not passively watching the screen like watching TV.
They are engaged in social networking, gaming, posting videos and pictures, texting, etc. Trying to forcefully control teenagers' online use, such as gaming, often leads to alienation from parents and an increased teen desire to use such devices.
This is the time for conversations and discussion rather than imposing ineffective and alienating rules. Ultimately, in their own time, most digital natives regulate themselves and find a balance between their online and offline lives. It is common for the digital native, especially teens and young adults to over-use technology, especially online social networking and online gaming sites.
Parents and teachers should strive to understand children's affinity for technology given their status as digital natives. Young people are not "addicted" simply because they are normal "digital natives" who spend a lot of time online in comparison, especially to older "digital immigrant" parents.
What Parents Can Do: Learn about what the Internet means to your digital native children by engaging with them in conversation and listening to them compassionately and attentively.
Install parental control software when children are young. When they get older nearing teenage age, most of them will find ways to circumvent the control.
This is the time to move from attempts to control to conversations. Observe what your digital native children are engaged in online with curiosity, open eyes and an open heart. Explore what actual games are played, how these games are played, with whom they are played and even play with them even if you are very bad at it.
Learn what your children likes about the games and what the psychological allures of the games are. Try to agree on time limits with your child via a dialogue rather than trying to enforce your own unilateral limits.
Help your children by having respectful conversations. Achieve balance between online and offline activities, during the week v. Negotiate the limits with teenager children. They are more likely to follow agreements that are set via true negotiation rather than those unilaterally imposed by parents.
Don't nag, label "You're an addict! Don't arbitrarily take the digital device from teenagers. It will only increase the alienation between you and your child.Relational aggression or alternative aggression is a type of aggression in which harm is caused by damaging someone's relationships or social status.
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