Are you the concerned parent of one or more teenagers? If so, are you worried about the amount of time they spend on social media on their phones? Has their behavior changed? Are they more secretive than usual?
The adolescent stage is defined as a transition from childhood to adulthood. Therefore, it is normal for your teens to spend most of their free time out with their friends. And when they aren’t out with their friends, they spend most of their time in their bedrooms interacting with their peers on social media platforms like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
Other attributes, such as pushing boundaries and mood swings, are also part of the “normal” teenage psyche. And, while the mood swings, boundary-pushing, and the prioritization of friends over family can be challenging to handle, parents should allow teenagers space to develop into healthy, functioning adults.
Enter 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on all of us, especially the teenagers. Even though it seems as though children and adolescents are less susceptible to the contracting the physical illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the lockdown and its associated restrictions in terms of school closures, limited movement, and economic strain have had and will continue to have a negative impact on the teens.
Teenagers are not totally in control of their emotions all of the time. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect more mood swings, greater defiance, and more time spent isolated in their bedroom.
Protecting your teens from Online predators
It is also essential to note there has been a fivefold increase in the flaw of the system during the pandemic. While most of these attacks have targeted financial data, there has also been an increase in online sexual stalking across the globe.
The UK-based Suzy Lamplugh Trust reported a surge in cyberstalking involving social media, messaging apps, and emails in the first four weeks of the lockdown. While there might not be statistics to prove that this problem is ongoing, it is reasonable to assume that it is current. Youngers are especially susceptive to cyberstalking and can end caught in unnecessary activities.
Therefore, the question that begs is, how do you, as a parent protect your children from being caught in these types of unnecessary activities?