five tips for better management

Teenagers estimate that they spend about five hours a day on the Internet on weekends. How can you, as a parent, protect them without being intrusive?

Teenagers in front of screens © Getty

“Unable to remove it from your phone!” Screens are still notorious among parents of teenagers, who are looking to adapt to these new technologies that are becoming more and more important in the lives of young people.

How to better manage teens’ relationship with the internet and social media? This is what the guests of the show “Barbatruc” tell us: Lucie Ronfaut-Hazard, digital journalist, Sophie JehelProfessor of Information and Communication Sciences at the University of Paris 8, i Xavier de la Portejournalist for L’Obs and France Inter, producer of a digital podcast on our lives: The code has changed.

Taking children’s digital lives seriously

The Internet is occupying a growing place in everyday life. For teens, it is also the place where they express their emotional and social relationships through chat. It is also the place where they prefer to get information and entertainment, hence the importance of taking their online activities seriously.

It’s not about monitoring everything, it’s about keeping a close eye on the Internet and social media. Teenagers can be very thoughtful and experience very high ups and downs due to small things: “platforms complicate young people’s lives “Sophie Jehel tells us, and they can’t handle it all alone: be present and listen it is the best that can be done.

Don’t try to cut everything

Should we remove their screens and accounts on the networks? Even if there are real dangers on the net, there are many opportunities.

It is a window into the world. It is important to accept that in the world we live in, the Internet is part of your life; it is impossible to cut everything. According to Xavier de la Porte, “When you’re a father, you tend to take refuge in solutions that are simplistic solutions.” For Sophie Jehel, absolute bans don’t work because they can no longer talk freely about what they do; yes, they will still find a way to go online!

It is essential to save time off screen encouraging them to get involved in other activities (sports, reading, outings …), but that doesn’t mean that everything they do on the Internet is uninteresting. While screens tend to be boring, you don’t have to do anything important all the time. On the contrary, maintaining entertainment time is beneficial.

Teenagers tend to be grateful later when their parents have delayed the age of registration on social media. Avoid overexposing them from an early age. whether in their own network or in that of their parents, it is favorable.

Screens as a learning aid
Screens as a learning aid © Getty

Seek to understand your relationship with the Internet

No need to panic. It is best to try to understand the connection between teenagers and the Internet. There are different uses of the screens: it’s not the time they spend online, it’s what they do there.

They communicate, play, learn, share. The Internet is the place where the growing demands for autonomy of young people are expressed, the worst thing would be to try to control everything without seeing his point of view. It is a second reality for them that allows them to escape the sometimes difficult experience of adolescence. “Staging your own way of life, which in itself is changing, is an absolutely giant challenge”, explains Xavier de la Porte. They can become someone else, create a new image that matches what they want to send.

Don’t try to educate them by imitating what you received when the Internet didn’t exist: “the dimension of transmitting values ​​must be moved to a space that adults do not know”Sophie Jehel recalls. It is important to be interested in the platforms on which they are present to try to understand these social networks, keeping in mind, however, that your experience with these digital environments will be different from yours because of the algorithms.

You also agree that he may not tell you even though he is entitled to his secret garden. Be there to help and support you when needed.

Inform them

It is the ineffective alternative to overprotection against new technologies. Talking to them about the risks of the Internet lets them know how to deal with them properly. Teenagers find it difficult to find trusted people to talk about the problems they encounter online without having to fear the consequences: it is crucial that their parents be present to listen to them and show kindness instead of demonizing the uses. For Lucie Ronfaud-Hazard, “We have to give them weapons because I think there is a real desire to understand”.

A first point to talk to them: the algorithms. These convey a certain view of the world and a relationship with the body that can create complexes, especially among young girls who will be very much compared to the images posted on the net. Talking about advertising and algorithms will allow them to stop feeling like victims of social media.

Raise awareness about cyberbullying it gives them the means to prepare for it. During the micro-sidewalk of our reporter Juliette Prouteau, a young child opens: “When you talk to someone on the Internet, you think, ‘I can say that because, in fact, they’ll never find me, they’ll never know who I am.’”. The anonymity of the networks allows violence to take its place : It is important to make young people understand that respect for others also applies to the Internet, and especially that you should talk to an adult if you are a victim.

Much of the content on the Internet is violent or pornographic: whether you like it or not, all teens will face it.. They need to be prepared to see images that do not want to prevent them from reacting with surprise and surprise, but also to let them know that they can talk about it when it happens to them. This can be an opportunity to talk about the importance of consent, to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon of “_revenge porn” (these intimate photos spread publicly).

Children facing cyberbullying
Children face cyberbullying © Getty

trust them

The Internet is a support in building your identity and empowering you. Paradoxically, the public accounts they open are involved in the creation of their private lives. They learn a lot through the internet and also use it to educate and study, especially through YouTube videos of teachers when they have not understood a lesson.

Teenagers are aware that we can invent a life on social media and that they are not a reflection of reality. They describe these platforms as “running” and “superficial”. They are also aware of cyberbullying and know how to react and help people who are victims of it. The girls are mostly vigilant and are aware of the dangers that can be found on the net. “Teenagers are much more thoughtful than you might think about their own practice”says Xavier de la Porte: then you can trust them in their content consumption.

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