Our experts give parents conversation pointers about some of the growing challenges teens are facing due to the coronavirus lockdown. We ask our experts the following question:
It’s helpful to shift the focus away from ‘What are you doing online?’ to ‘What are we all doing online?’. Talk together as a family about the ways online life is supporting you at this time.
For example, it’s a good way to stay connected to friends, we can access content to help us exercise and relax and share content that makes us laugh.
On the other hand, too many news notifications can make us anxious, negative posts and fake news make us fearful, not setting personal boundaries around the amount of contact we have with others can make us feel stressed, and spending too much time online may mean we’re not getting enough sleep or fresh air. Make the online world work for you as a family, and schedule time offline together – preparing a meal, watching a film and playing board games are all a good place to start.
Parents and carers should remember that the impact on teenagers is real. As normally social individuals who deal with adolescent dynamics on a daily basis, teenagers are understandably frustrated as they miss out on group activities, sporting events, hanging out with best friends at school and more.
For those teenagers that may have just started to date or to drive a car, these rites of passage have been dramatically taken away while families are on lockdown.
During lockdown, teenagers may swing from boredom and frustration to nervous and angry, while dabbling in other emotions on the way.
Here are some conversation starters related to the current lockdown:
You can also use this intensive time to delve into some of those challenging online topics, (such as unwanted contact, grooming, online pornography or sending nudes and sexting and online dating) or to remind them of the basics of internet safety.
You have the best opportunity to support your children in avoiding online risks and increasing online opportunities by keeping those conversations going.
See more articles and resources to help children stay safe online.