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In today’s modern world, the rise of technology has served to foster an increasingly interconnected global community. There are benefits to many of the ways in which technology and the internet have changed our patterns of interaction; faster and easier means of interpersonal and mass communication, enhanced collaboration between members of the scientific community, and widespread accessibility to a vast array of informational resources.
At the same time, however, technological advancements combined with the increasing popularity of the internet have ushered in an era defined by remarkably dangerous risks that threaten society’s younger generation. In response to these dangers, the responsibility falls on parents to protect their children’s safety by diligently monitoring their phones and online activities. Although some may interpret this practice as overly-intrusive or an invasion of privacy, parental supervision of children’s cell phones and online activity is an absolutely imperative step in protecting young people’s mental health and overall safety.
With a surprising number of young children and the majority of teens now owning cell phones, and many using the internet as a venue for communication through chat rooms and social media, the mental health risks associated with these practices have become evident. The media has shed light on the issue of cyberbullying and its consequences through news stories that detail tragic suicidal deaths among young people. These often sensationalized news stories bring real life issues into the mainstream and serve as a warning to parents of the potential consequences associated with failing to monitor children’s phones and online activities.
Cyber bullying, defined by cruelty, harassment, or intimidation through online venues of communication, poses a major risk to children and teens’ mental health. Disturbingly, approximately 50% of teens and adults say that they have experienced some form of cyberbullying, and 10-20% experience it regularly. The consequences of these statistics are even more concerning. A 2015 study found consistent associations between exposure to cyberbullying and increased likelihood of depression. With suicide being the third leading cause of death among young people, is even more alarming that bullying victims are between 2 and 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University.
The mental health risks associated with online activity and cyberbullying should not be taken lightly. By diligently monitoring children’s online and cell phone activity, parents and guardians have the opportunity to intervene in situations involving cyberbullying before it is too late. It is concerning that well over half of children do not tell their parents when cyberbullying occurs. Thus, without monitoring children’s online activities, parents run the risk of remaining blind to dangerous and potentially fatal situations that their children may be experiencing. By setting up a careful system of supervision surrounding their children’s cell phone usage and online activities, parents have the opportunity to counteract dangerous instances of cyberbullying by identifying and intervening in the situation as early as possible. Through doing so, they are able to safeguard their children’s mental health, happiness, and ultimately their life. Cyberbullying, depression, and suicide are only a few of the major concerns associated with phone and internet usage among young people.
The KidGuard team consists of technology experts, researchers, and writers to educate parents on digital parenting problems. Our sole mission is to protect your children by bringing awareness and offering solutions to cyberbullying, online predators, teen suicide, and childhood depression in the age of technology. For more information on online safety, visit our Parents’ Survival Guide.