Through the Internet, your student can find information. He can also use a computer for math, science, or writing. And it’s often part of social life, too. Many teens use email and instant messaging to keep in touch with friends.
But be careful about “too much of a good thing.” Hours of computer use can keep teens away from homework. They may also spend less time with family. And the Internet contains some content that is harmful to all children, including teens.
Here are some ways to keep computer time in check:
Set time limits. One idea—give your teen 30 minutes to an hour of daily computer time unless he has a project due. Then he may have more, as needed.
Keep it public. Is the computer behind closed doors? Then your teen may be more likely to visit a harmful Internet site or spend hours “chatting” online.
Share concerns about safety and values. “Sites with pornography go against the values of our family.” “Chat rooms can contain people who would like to hurt children and teens. Please stay away from them.”
Tell your teen not to believe everything he reads. Anyone with some computer skills can put up a website. So it’s important to be a careful judge of the information out there. Sites belonging to government agencies, educational institutions, or nonprofit associations often contain the best material. But even then, it’s important for your teen to consider the agenda of the group posting the site.
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