Given the potential dangers of social media, a new Meta study suggests that teens and parents or guardians need to establish dialogue and trust to ensure positive exploration in the digital environment.
How do you balance parental supervision online to protect the safety of teens when they go online with their right to privacy online? A new study from Meta, TTC Labs, and Smart Design highlights some of the tools and principles for digital designers to help parents, guardians, and teens meet this challenge.
Research shows that among adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17, there are different attitudes towards social media and technology: some are more daring and daring, feeling confident enough to handle any online risk without the support of an adult.
On the other hand, others lack awareness and have limited experience in digital spaces. Some are very concerned about the disadvantages of surfing the Internet, while others are still unaware that there are risks.
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On the part of parents and guardians, there is also a range of attitudes: some rely on adolescent judgment to distance themselves from negative experiences and maintain an open dialogue with them; Others find it important to give them space and trust.
Others, on the other hand, feel restless and lack the knowledge to face adverse situations; While others do not believe that they should see what teenagers do on the Internet.
Given this diverse scenario, the report provides elements to jointly improve online management between parents, guardians, adolescents, Internet companies, government and academia:
- We understand that Teens are Growing up and Taking Ownership of their Digital Experience.
The study highlights the importance of realizing that adolescents are growing and maturing. As they do this, their digital interactions and therefore their needs, skills, social conditions and the level of support they need change. This means that they gain independence and confidence to handle situations on their own.
“Teaching teens digital privacy is a journey,” the report states. They are constantly learning new things and tools and gaining independence, so they seek more freedom and trust from their parents and guardians. Dialogue, learning, observation and rule-making are the moderation methods that are carried out between adolescents and adults, and depend on the relationship between them.
- Help Teens set their Own Limits.
The study warns that the limits that adolescents set for themselves may be more effective than those set by parents or guardians, because they empower them and make them feel more productive. But to create these limits, it is essential to foster online education, promoting learning about digital rights and respect for oneself and others.
At the same time, teens are looking for digital tools that allow them to find solutions to online dangers, from wasting time and viewing unappealing content to malicious messages. In this sense, it is also important to facilitate such mechanisms and access reliable information on how to protect your privacy.
- Ensuring a positive Exploration.
While the dangers online should not be denied, online monitoring should not ignore the fact that “social media provides teens with opportunities to express themselves,” explore their identity, and explore new aspects of themselves, despite fear. in the physical world of your acceptance.
The research highlights the need to encourage positive exploration of digital spaces, instead of implementing invasive methods such as reading their messages or accessing their accounts. When they feel suffocated, teens tend to find ways to avoid being watched, and this can make them more vulnerable.
- Improve Communication between Adolescents and Parents.
Open communication between adolescents and their parents or guardians should be the goal to create safer digital environments. The report claims that dialogue is more effective than setting rules or strict follow-up strategies, because teens will turn to adults when problems arise.
Rather than restrict or block access to technology, adults should take a digital mentoring approach where they themselves learn about social media and can impart this knowledge to teens and have more productive conversations.
- Demystifying social Networks.
Another important point revealed by the analysis is that today’s teens are more familiar with social media and the Internet than their guardians, which means they interact online in ways their guardians sometimes don’t understand while adults struggle to keep up. day with the latest news. especially. Those with less digital literacy.
There is a knowledge gap between the two extremes, making it difficult to empathize with the digital experience. Research shows that it is necessary to demystify social networks and enhance access to educational resources for parents and guardians, in order to shorten these barriers.
Each of these keys seeks to provide clues to improve the design of digital experiences for adolescents who actively use the Internet and social networks to interact and communicate with others.
Although these are general guidelines, the study indicates that it should be taken into account that adolescents and their parents have diverse needs, so support frameworks must be flexible and adaptable to the circumstances, contexts, and social realities of each country.
When monitoring what teens are doing online, parents and guardians need to stay involved, but also tech companies like Meta play an important role in creating tools and mechanisms to protect safety.