Choosing Safe Activities for Teens Online

According to Department of Labor statistics from 2002, mothers stay home while fathers go to work in 23.2 percent of American families. Only about a quarter of those mothers who stay home while the father works have children between the ages of 14 and 17.

Yet there is a growing amount of research that children may need their parents more than ever in their teen years, the very time that parental involvement tends to fall off. A 2001 YMCA phone survey of 14- to 17-year-olds found that the average teen is left unsupervised after school two days a week. For more than 32 percent of teens, they were home alone three or more days weekly. Most teens report that its uncomfortable to not have a parent available, even by phone in many cases.

According to a study of more than 4,200 middle-school students published in the journal Health, Education and Behavior in 2001, teens that felt that when their parents liked, respected and took them seriously, they were less likely than their peers to smoke and drink.

However, in today’s economic climate this is not always an option. In many cases, teens are not able to contact their parents when they are at work. And this leaves many teens watching a lot of TV, or online catching up with friends…or in some case making poor choices about how to stay busy.

Most teens would be responsive and interested in activities, but they are often not available or affordable. Transportation can also be an obstacle. As technology expands the option of participating in activities all from home is becoming a reality. Not only can teens find enriching and educational choices online, they can discover activities they would not be able to engage in normally.

The Internet now offers a unique way to learn languages, travel to another country virtually, learn about art, science, sports and music… and so much more. It can now be safe and entertaining, without the risks of the current climate, where so few online options exist.

 

Anne Leedom is the Founder of TeenPalz.com. She is frequently quoted in national media and is also the publisher of Parentingbookmark.com. She lives in Northern California.

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