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Monitoring teens online, a balance of freedom and restriction

Monitoring teens online, the balance between freedom and restriction. (file)

MACON, Ga-- The PEW Research Center did a study that found that 61% of parents check their teens web history and social media profiles. One expert said there is a fine line between open communication and controlling communication, and the way parents handle internet use with their teens can make all the difference.

Father of three Chris Roberts takes a firm approach when it comes to his 12-year-old and her online activities.

"There's so much out there that's not monitored, and us as parents to be in their lives, we need to be more their parents and not their friends," Roberts said.

He said he trusts his daughter, so he wants her to have some freedom online.

"You have to allow them a little bit of rope, but only so much when it comes to where they go and what they do," Roberts said.

Darryl Speed said he monitors his children for their safety.

"We always try and monitor what he's looking at, and who he's talking to. the friends that he's around, and things like that,' Speed said. "We keep them kind of close to where we're raising them up."

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Coliseum Medical Centers Bruce Conn said kids are less likely to rebel if they'e given some freedom and privacy online.

"The real issue would be trust but verify. Have them be willing to show you what they're looking at," Conn said.

He said there's no perfect formula, but parents need to have an open line of communication about online habits.

"It really boils down to do you think that you can trust your kids, and maybe you find out you have too much trust and that can be painful so maybe you have to take some things away," Conn said.

Conn said its important to be right in between, too much monitoring can create trust issues, and too little monitoring could lead the child into trouble.

"You have to be careful that it's open communication, not a controlling," Conn said.

PEW Research also said that 55% of parents limit the amount of time a teen can go online a day.

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