Parents have long faced the dilemma of when to step back and when to take a more hands-on approach with their kids. Technology has added a new wrinkle to that problem: Today’s parents must navigate how, when and to what extent they oversee their teens’ online and mobile activities.
A new Pew Research Center report on parents of 13- to 17-year-olds finds that parents take a wide range of actions to monitor their teen’s digital life and to encourage their child to use technology in an appropriate and responsible manner.
Here are six takeaways from the report:
2A majority of parents employ “digital grounding” or restrict their teen’s online access. Sixty-five percent of parents say they have taken away their teen’s internet privileges or cellphone as punishment, while half of parents limit how often their teen can be online. Pew Research Center surveys have found that 92% of teens say they go online daily, with 24% using the internet “almost constantly,” and nearly three-quarters of teens have access to a smartphone. Therefore, “digital grounding” is a potentially potent form of discipline. But limiting online screen time isn’t always a consequence of bad behavior: 55% of parents say they limit the amount of time their teen can go online, regardless of behavior. Moreover, parents of younger teens are especially likely to place limits on their teen’s internet use.
4Some parents take the additional step of friending or following their teen on social media. Some 44% of parents are friends with their teen on Facebook, while one-in-ten report following their teen on Twitter. In total, 56% of parents are connected with their teen on Facebook, Twitter or some other social media platform.
5Nearly all parents have talked with their teen about how to behave on the web, including more than nine-in ten who have discussed what is appropriate to share online (94%), what constitutes appropriate online behavior towards others (92%) and what is appropriate content for teens to view online (95%).