Is It Fair to Control the Time a Teenager Dedicates to Playing Computer Games or Using the Internet?
Modern teenagers have access to technologies that would be previously unfathomable. They have round-the-clock access to the internet through their gadgets, computers, and mobile devices. Playing video games has been another staple of adolescence, with countless hours spent in a digital world of gaming.
This has been a cause for concern for many parents, which has sparked a debate as to whether the time spent by teenagers on the internet and playing video games should be controlled. While this is a noteworthy issue, it would not be fair to control teenagers in this way, as they would only resist additional control and find a way to indulge in their favorite activities in spite of any parental interference.
The prerequisites of control from the parents’ side
Internet usage is one of the activities parents attempt to control. However, teens and adolescents are reported to know more about the internet and the digital world than their parents, rendering potential control limited (Wang et al. 1250). According to the study conducted by Wang et al., 61% of parents control the amount of time their children spend on the internet (1253). However, only 60% of parents and teens agree on the rules of control, and 40% do not agree on the rules or state there are no rules. Additional variables included educational and gender factors of parents in assessing the need for control. All in all, parents make attempts to control the amount of time, with varying results.
Video games take up a significant amount of time for teenagers. Just like with internet usage, this is a cause of concern for parents. Children who devote much attention to video games are considered to be addicted, even though the activity itself is considered to be highly engaging (Skoric et al. 567). The suggestion that actively playing video games suggests higher academic achievements has revealed no correlation (570). Overall, teenagers devote a significant amount of time to video games, causing some to believe it is an addiction; no specific correlation has been found between playing video games and better grades.
The level of control matters a lot
Despite both of these activities being a cause for concern in parents, the issue has to be considered very carefully. Unless there are signs of actual addictive behavior, no additional measures should be taken, especially if there are otherwise no drawbacks to the activity. Teenagers tend to rebel against excessive control. At this stage of their lives, they are quickly growing into adults, with their own rules and principles to guide them along the way. Further control of their free time activities will not only have a limited effect, but it will also be actively circumvented, undermining the control measures even more. In short, only some control must be exercised over a teenager’s activities; without specific signs of actual addiction or any drawbacks to real life, teenagers must and should be left alone.
In conclusion, surfing the internet and playing video games are staples of a modern teenager or adolescent. They are a cause for concern for parents, with some considering these activities to be addictions. Nevertheless, without a good reason, it would not be fair to control teenagers more than needed: they will find a way to either circumnavigate or outright rebel against parental supervision. If these activities do not negatively affect their real life, teenagers should be allowed to engage in them without additional control.
Skoric, Marko M., Linda Lay Ching Teo, and Rachel Lijie Neo. “Children and Video Games: Addiction, Engagement, and Scholastic Achievement.” Cyberpsychology & Behavior vol. 12, no. 5, 2009, pp. 567-572.
Wang, Rong, Suzanne M. Bianchi, and Sara B. Raley. “Teenagers’ Internet Use and Family Rules: A Research Note.” Journal of Marriage and Family vol. 67, no. 5, December 2005, pp. 1249-1258.
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