Social media, computer games, chat rooms and forums are all enticing for Internet users of all ages, but teen boys are particularly vulnerable to spending too much time online. It’s also not unusual for teen boys to participate in online activities that they know their parents may not exactly approve of. More and more teen boys are far more computer savvy than their parents and are adept at hiding their online activities. So how can you be sure your teen boy is or isn’t hiding his online activities?
One survey showed that more than 70 percent of teens do hide online activities from parents, so you can probably bet that your teen boy is hiding his online activities. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to minimize the time your teen son spends online and also how to educate yourself on keeping tabs on what online activities your teen boy is doing.
What Activities Are Teens Doing?
Most online activities for teens include talking with friends, reading up on current events like movies or celebrities or sports heroes, and even doing homework. There are plenty of innocent things for teens to do online, but the Internet can also provide plenty of harmful things for teen boys:
- Violent video games
- Sexually explicit chat rooms
- Sexting/inappropriate use of social media
- Vulnerability to predators
Of course, there are many things that also happen online that can also be considered harmful or even dangerous to teen boys. As a parent, it’s important to communicate with your son to teach him about what kinds of things are appropriate and what isn’t.
How Do Teens Hide Online Activities?
As computer technology changes and upgrades constantly, it can be very difficult to stay up to date on ways that online activities can be hidden. Here are some of the most common:
- Erasing browser history
- Minimizing windows when a parent is around
- Deleting messages
- Deleting downloaded videos
- Lying about online activities
- Accessing computers that parents don’t check
- Setting up privacy settings
- Using apps and programs that control viewable content
- Going online via a browser’s private viewing mode
- Setting up private social media accounts unknown to parents
The top priority is for parents is to learn how to monitor a teen’s online activity, place restrictions on the computer as best they can and know all the teen’s accounts and passwords. There are many online videos and tutorials that help parents get more tech savvy so they can better monitor what their teenagers are doing online.
Be Proactive and Open to Talk
Many parents set conditions like their teen boy can only have a cellphone if he provides his parents with access and so forth. Ultimately, parents must keep the lines of communication open and teach teen boys the value and the harm of certain online activity.
If you do discover some inappropriate online activity, be calm and have a discussion rather than an emotional rant. You can use the moment as a valuable teaching lesson and your teen will see that he has nothing to fear by talking to you about his thoughts. With consistent conversations, you can help your teen boy with smart and informed decisions regarding online activity.