Teens and social media go hand-in-hand these days, but when they begin to affect your teens’ mood and behaviour, it could be a sign that it’s beginning to become a problem.
Here, read one woman’s experience of her teen daughter’s addiction to chatrooms, and her advice on how to control the amount of time they spend on them…
‘My 14-year-old daughter Hannah was completely addicted to the online chatroom MSN. It used to drive me mad. She was looking up mates from her old primary school, which I was pleased about. But no-one else could use the computer because she was on it the whole time. Every time I wanted to check my emails it was a fight.
‘I nagged and nagged, but the minute my back was turned she’d sneak back on it. I’m sure spending so much time on the computer was making her grumpier too. We had terrible fights and one night, when she’d been on it for over three hours, I was so angry that I threw a glass of water over her and the computer!
‘The computer packed up and we had a week without MSN. During that time our lives were so much more pleasant. I got my daughter back – she even helped me make dinner one night.
‘Now I’ve introduced a points system for all the kids about how much time they can spend on it. Hannah gets an hour a day, and the younger ones get half an hour each a day. They can build a small amount of extra time each week with points earned for doing chores around the house. We’ve been doing it for a couple of months now and it really works.’ – Julia Sedgwick, 44, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland
What is MSN?
MSN Messenger, now known as Windows Live Messenger, is an instant
messaging service that allows people to hold free conversations with
other users. Members sign up using their email address and can add other
email addresses as ‘contacts’, and hold conversations with them. Users can also hold ‘group’ conversations, where they can add several people into the same discussion.
Members can display profile information, including a photo, and also use their webcam in live chats. For more information on chatrooms your teens could be accessing, follow our useful links below.
More help and advice
- Exactly how to keep kids safe online – guides on parental controls, mobile phones, social networks and more
- A parents’ complete guide to the internet
- Chatroom cyber bullying: ‘Bullies told me to go and kill myself’