WASHINGTON — A psychologist says parents who try to secretly monitor their kids’ online activities are wasting their time and should use an approach that builds trust.
Larry Rosen of California State University gave a presentation on social networking today at a meeting of the American Psychological Association in Washington.
Rosen says kids know how to work around electronic devices that serve as filters or monitor every keystroke, and they will just access sites on somebody else’s computer or a smartphone.
He says parents can open up the lines of communication with weekly 15-minute meetings where parents can ask non-judgmental questions.
The questions could be ones like — “Have you found any interesting websites?” or “Played any good games?”
Then the parents should “shut up and listen,” learn and assess, and use their parent radar to see if there might be problems.
Rosen says social media are great for helping kids to practise life — for instance, a shy child can practise being more outgoing, or a lonely child can practise connecting with people.
But he says his research has shown that excessive use is associated with more ailments, and those who use Facebook more often show more narcissistic tendencies, and the distraction can negatively impact learning.