Parents & Internet/Social Networks: Which Strategy Works Best?
Monster Messenger published an interesting article on the results of parents’ strategies toward internet and social networks on their children’s online behavior.
According to a study, parents can be classified into 3 categories:
- Digital enablers, who tend not to understand or care a lot about what their kids do online, and are quite confident that peer education and discovery are appropriate;
- Digital limiters, who tend to ban or exert strong control over their children’s internet access and online behavior;
- Digital mentors, who take an active role in guiding their kids on the internet, and educate them about the possibilities offered by digital devices and apps, as well as the risks and appropriate behaviors.
It turns out that, as other studies pointed out, forbidding is not an efficient strategy as children of “Limiters”:
- access online pornography twice as much as other children
- post rude or hostile comments twice as much as other children
- impersonate other people three times more than other children
The difference in behavior between children of enablers and mentors is more nuanced. For most behaviors, children of mentors do better than those of enablers. Where children of mentors excel is at not connecting with people they don’t know in real life (which is the biggest threat they face online): 30% of enablers’ children are likely to engage in an online chat or email exchange with someone they don’t know, which is twice as much as the figure for mentors’ children.
Overall, the mentoring strategy is the clear winner when it comes to educating children about the internet and social networks.
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