How much time should a child be allowed to spend online? That’s a very difficult question to answer - even the experts disagree on the subject - and it’s a big challenge for parents who are looking for the right balance. Children depend on computers and the internet just as much as adults do. Between school and leisure time, the average teenager spends more than 40 hours a week staring at a screen.
Online gaming and social networking have seemingly replaced outdoor activities and face-to-face communication for many kids, and parents are understandably concerned.
There’s nothing wrong with spending a certain amount of free time playing games or chatting with friends online, but obviously some limits are necessary if a child is to grow up in a healthy and well-adjusted manner. Children easily fall into unhealthy patterns regarding time spent online. For some kids, internet usage becomes a serious addiction - an addiction that can rob them of their youth. The virtual world is a seductive place, but spending too much time in it is dangerous, especially for young people.
“How Can I Set Limits?”
It’s not always easy to set and enforce limits on internet usage, especially if a child is showing the signs of addiction - and honestly, what child (or adult) these days isn’t already somewhat addicted to the internet? Many of us parents are also spending too much time online, so it’s a bit hypocritical to not recognize the fact that we have collectively created a world full of internet addicts, and it’s not just our kids’ problem. When you approach your child to discuss online time limits, expect to meet with some resistance. Be patient but firm - and let them have some input on what is ultimately decided. An hour or two after the homework is finished is a reasonable limit, but choose the parameters you find appropriate for your own child.
If your teen shows a tendency towards escaping into the virtual world, it may mean that there are other issues involved. internet addictions can be partly the result of children having problems in their personal lives or with schoolwork. Take the time to understand and share in your child’s experiences - simply imposing rules and limits isn’t enough.
Monitoring Online Time
Keeping track of your child’s online activities is not an easy task unless you have an effective monitoring system. Installing a monitoring app on your teen’s smartphone is a simple means to see exactly how much time is spent online and what that time is spent on. Smartphone spy apps allow parents to not only monitor online activity but to also have access to a real time GPS tracker which pinpoints the location of a child at any given moment. Spy phone apps, such as the one marketed by mSpy, record all call information, text messages, photo and video sharing content, as well as the places your child has been. Knowledge of what your child is doing online and who he or she is communicating with can be vital information. Teens often hide a lot from parents, and it’s crucial to know if there are patterns of behavior that need to be addressed. In this modern world there are many potential threats to a child’s health and well-being - an accurate picture of your teen’s online habits can help in identifying any serious problems.
Cell phone tracker apps are easy to install and use. Whether or not you choose to tell your child that you are installing a spy app on their phone is up to you. In some cases, a parent might want the child to know he or she is being monitored, in others it may be wiser to discreetly monitor a child’s online habits. Either way, smartphone monitoring apps can be a very powerful parenting tool.