Back To School: Teens and Digital Stress

Being a teenager today is not easy – but we know adolescence has never been an easy stage of life.

As schools reopen between after summer break, teens deal with more than the normal stresses that they had to deal with before technology became common. Questions like fashion choices; who they have lunch with; teachers’ behavior; difficulty level of their studies; managing extra-curricular activities, studies and family time at the same time, become extremely pertinent for students these days.

A recent study on Digital Stress, Adolescents’ Personal Accounts published online in the journal New Media & Society highlighted that we have to add digital stress to the average living stress. The study identifies six major digital stressors effecting today’s teens:

1) Impersonation, 2) Cyberbullying, 3) Hacking of accounts and devices, 5) Digital peer pressure to comply, and 6) Feeling smothered (pressure to keep up with social media, especially texting).

These tips will help the users to break down the stress-factors:

Impersonation. Digital citizenship is your online manners and etiquette. Keystrokes count in every character you enter. Make it difficult for hackers to break into your account or phone and pretend to be you by, 1) Not sharing your passwords with anyone, even your best friend or sibling. 2) Ensure your cell phone is always locked. Never give anyone your unlock code. 3) Check surroundings when entering your passwords in any device especially public access computers. 4) Check privacy settings especially when posting photos.

Cyberbullying. Kids needs to understand they can come to you or another adult to discuss this issue. 24% tweens and teens said they were unaware of what to do if cyberbullied. 1) Speak openly and regularly about cyberbullying. 2) Show children how to block unwanted people. 3) Never try to seek revenge on anyone harassing you. 4) Never ask anyone to engage in online battle with anyone. 5) Never post personal photos.

Hacking. Most teens expect elders to monitor their digital lives, but don’t like friends or others seeing their emails or text messages. Just like in impersonation you should keep your gadgets and passwords secure.

Your best friend now could be your enemy tomorrow. If a friend is asking your child to share passwords etc., tell your child to blame it on you: say you would stop their phone privilege if they give anyone their password.

Pressure to Comply. Digital peer pressure is same as real peer pressure. Teens feel pressure from their friends or romantic partner to share passwords etc., to show trust. According to a study, this is also the motivation for sharing nude photos or making sexual videos. “Intimacy and teens wanting to show that … special someone would never hurt them ….. and have no secrets,” Emily Weinstein the research co-author said.

Feeling smothered. Texting, emailing, social networking, is unending. It can be tricky for teens to find the balance. Most think every email, text, and social media message needs to be replied immediately even if stressful. The study showed teens think if an answer is not given immediately the sender you might be upset or angry.

People are worried about telling friends or significant others to go slow, fearing that it could trigger an ending of the relationship. 1) Tell your friends, your parents have digital curfews in place, so you may not have access to the Internet or phone at all times. 2) Remember your obligations at school and home to retain use. 3) Tell friends not to assume anything until they get your reply.

Remember 1) Parenting offline reduces online stress, talk to children about digital stress factors regularly. 2) Security is a priority, remind your children never to share passwords. And 3) Parental controls and monitoring systems work, but nothing replaces actual parentin

Author Bio: 

Sera has been writing on parenting along with multiple teen’s problems and a whole host of other things that leave many parents baffled.  She has been exploring parental control apps and related gadgets for a while now and continues to test things out so she does the work while her readers reap the benefits.

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