This article discusses associations between online teen risk behavior and parenting strategies. A study of 588 teens and their parents was conducted at Penn State to collect the following findings. The researchers found that there were two common types of parenting styles in regards to teen online safety. One method being direct parental intervention and active parental mediation. Direct parental intervention is a more restrictive or controlling strategy that includes the use of parental controls and privacy settings in order to reduce or control the likelihood of risky online behavior of teens. Active parental mediation takes an approach with more freedom for the teen. This method allows the teen be somewhat more autonomous by allowing them to make more judgements and decisions while allowing parents to still maintain control through communication with the teen, investigating posts, and responding to posts on social media. In conjunction with these methods, researchers also focused on two type so teen social media privacy behaviors, risk-taking behaviors and risk coping behaviors. In relation to the teen behaviors, these parenting strategies independently have advantages and disadvantages. Direct intervention was associated with more cautious and conservative attitudes of teens about online behaviors. However, such a restrictive strategy may prevent teens from experiencing the benefits of online engagement. Active mediation was associated with more disclosure of sensitive information because of autonomy but also more remedy/ corrective behaviors among teens. Although both of these methods have advantages individually, many of the experts on this research team agreed that maybe a combination approach may work the best. Even with the combination approach adequate balance is key.
Worldwide technological advancement is taking place. Not only is this new technology making the tasks of everyday life easier but it is also improving connections between people. We are now more connected to people than we have ever been before. The biggest growth and most popular of this day and age is the use of social media as a means to communicate with others. Social media use is particularly on the rise for teenagers. Although social media has a lot of benefits, it also has some alarming disadvantages for teens. Teens are more susceptible to having their sensitive information being taken advantage of, harassment, and cyber-bullying. This is very important for families to consider because it is the role of the parent to keep their children safe. The increase in international connection also exposes teens from all over to many different people of different ages who may have hidden agendas in contacting them. International connections make teens even more vulnerable. It is a parents responsibility to provide safety for these teens and it is important for them to be educated on these issues. Strategies such as direct intervention and active mediation should be implemented by parents worldwide to protect their children. It is important that schools and government programs begin to address these issues as well and can do their part in helping to prevent online risky behavior of teenagers.
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