Should parents monitor their children’s online activity?

danah boyd wrote an article in 2014 titled “Let Kids Run Wild Online.” In the article, she states that parents shouldn’t track, monitor and block their children’s online activity, but rather allow them to have freedom online. She believes parents should open up lines of communication with their children in order to teach them how to safely navigate the internet (boyd).

Not everyone agrees with boyd’s ideas. Some believe that parents need to monitor their children’s online activity to protect them from sexting, cyberbullying, online predators, identity theft and more (Woyd). Two Social Studies teachers in Virginia disagree with boyd from an educational perspective. They say their students use devices “entirely for recreation, not to seek brave new ideas.” They are advocating for teachers to use simple education techniques in the classroom and stay away from ed-tech curriculums (Matthews).

Some of the statistics about children and their online activity are frightening. It’s estimated that 75% of high school students walk around the hallway with their phones in their hands. Teens spend 9 hours a day using media for their enjoyment and more than 6.5 hours on screens (Wallace). 24% of teens admit to going online “almost constantly” and 92% go online at least once a day (Steyer).

Parents monitoring their children’s online activity is a very complicated issue and there’s no clear solution. On one hand, technology is changing society at a rapid pace and parents need to do their best to keep up with those changes. boyd compared granting kids freedom online to allowing them freedom to play outside. She says that kids need to learn from their mistakes and explore their identities. There is definitely a lot of validity to boyd’s ideas, but the internet also introduces a whole new wave of risks that aren’t present when a child is running around outside. There needs to be some sort of compromise between a child’s safety and allowing them to have freedom online and this compromise has not yet been discovered.

Work Cited

boyd, danah. “Let Kids Run Wild Online.” Time, Time Inc., 13 Mar. 2014, time.com/23031/danah-boyd-let-kids-run-wild-online/.

Mathews, Jay. “Don’t like Your Kids Tethered to Screens at School? Why Not Ask Questions?”The Washington Post, WP Company, 15 Oct. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/dont-like-your-kids-tethered-to-screens-at-school-why-not-ask-questions/2017/10/15/f1c37e78-aecf-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html?utm_term=.c1dfef4fc358.

Steyer, Carly. “8 Fascinating Facts About How Teens Use The Internet And Social Media.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 20 July 2015, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tk-facts-about-teens-on-social-media-that-are-really-scary_us_55a7c6f0e4b0896514d06eab.

Wallace, Kelly. “Teens Spend 9 Hours a Day Using Media, Report Says.” CNN, Cable News Network, 3 Nov. 2015, www.cnn.com/2015/11/03/health/teens-tweens-media-screen-use-report/index.html.

Woda, Tim. “10 Reasons to Monitor Your Child’s Internet Activity.” UKnowKids, UKnow, Inc., resources.uknowkids.com/blog/bid/159115/10-reasons-to-monitor-your-child-s-internet-activity.

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