Intrude on Your Kid's Computer Use? Maybe Not, Says Study

I'm not so sure about this but a new study has found that if we as parents intrude too much on our kids' computer use, it could be a bad thing.  Uh oh.  Guess I'm guilty.

But not of intruding.  More of yelling at him to get off it.  But anyway.

According to the University of Haifa, intrusive monitoring of Internet use by parents actually leads adolescents to increase their risky behavior online, reports.

I keep thinking about a recent episode of "Married," that slightly obscene (but funny) cable show about middle-aged marriage, where the parents of three young girls go to visit another family and the bored dad wanders upstairs to find a computer, and starts looking at porn, only to have the poor pimply teenaged son blamed by the father in the other family when the alarm he set goes off.  Guess you had to be there.

Anyway, the study found that parents who very closely monitor their children’s Internet use in an attempt to reduce unsafe online behavior may actually be achieving the opposite effect. “It seems that during adolescence, during which teens are seeking ways to achieve autonomy, overly restrictive monitoring actually motivates them to seek ways to circumvent the supervision,” say the researchers.

Hmm.  Now how'd they come up with that?

I remember as a teen (they didn't have computers back then) being forbidden by my parents to wear short skirts to school.  So, no problem.  At the bus stop, about a half-mile from my house, I just rolled the top of my skirt up at my waist till it was barely touching my thighs. We all actually did that.

But I suppose the Internet presents more dangers than getting sent home from school from having your skirt too short.  Ah, those were the days.

Getting back to the survey . . .It notes that the concern of many parents regarding their children’s online habits tend to relate to hazardous behaviors, ranging from the disclosure of personal information on public forums and revealing feelings to strangers, to face-to-face meetings with strangers. "Parents, naturally, want to prevent such precarious behaviors to the degree possible without infringing on their teens’ feeling of independence," the researchers add.

I guess because I grew up with controlling parents, I decided I would not be one with my son.  Some feel I've gone too far the other way, certainly when it comes to computer use.  I admit that I let him stay on far more than he probably should.  I let him play Black Ops II online with his friends, Skype all the time, and watch movies, none of which I supervise or censor.

I do feel guilty about it but as I'm working two jobs now, one from home, it frees me to get my work done.  It's selfish, I know.  But I trust my kid.  He's proven to me that he's, well, trustable.  The movies he watches are mostly Alfred Hitchcock (he loved "The Birds," though he did look over his shoulder a couple of times when crows cawed at us on a walk), and he didn't think "Psycho" was so scary (neither did I).

And what if he were watching porn?  I would hope I would be a good enough parent (and have enough presence of mind) to talk to him about it, about how it doesn't make you a bad person (right?) just, don't do it too much.  And then again, maybe not. (He got really mad when they did the sex talk in fifth grade so I think I'm OK for another couple of years.)

But the main reason I don't worry so much?  He's on the computer, in the family room.  Right under my nose. 


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