With another two weeks of freedom fast approaching, teens will be looking for ways to entertain themselves during the school holidays.
And, what’s the quickest and most effective source of entertainment these days? The internet of course.
Family Zone research and IT Teacher and Cyber Expert Pete Brown have come up with some surprising results. Read below to find out what teens will be doing online over the next couple of weeks. and how to make sure they are staying safe.
1. Arranging meetups on Yellow
‘With much more time on their hands and freedom from working parents means teens have more opportunity to chat with people on Yellow, a popular app which is commonly compared with Tinder’ explains Pete. ‘And, with more spare time they can take their chat to the next level which is often meeting up in real life. Yellow has zero account verification methods, so anyone can create a fake account and catfish other users. When teens are arranging to meet with people they think are their peers they’re placing themselves in danger, as there’s no way to tell if they’re meeting up with a potential friend or predator’ says Pete.
2. Falling down the YouTube rabbit hole
Family Zone stats show that YouTube use explodes from the moment teens wake up and then dips slightly to remain steady throughout the school day. ‘With teens spending up to 60% of their total online time watching YouTube videos, it’s not hard to guess what will happen once they’re no longer under supervision from teachers’ says Pete. ‘Teens fall victim to a very common phenomenon known as the YouTube rabbit hole, and during school holidays they’re at even more risk of impacting their sleep patterns and exposure to inappropriate content’.
3. Watching adult content
According to Family Zone research - pornography searches are at their highest during the two or so hours after teens arrive home from school and before their parents arrive home from work. ‘With working parents often trusting their teenage kids to entertain themselves while they’re at work, pornography exposure will be at an all time high in some households’. According to research, the impacts of excessive pornography consumption in teenagers are very damaging and can result in relationship issues and an inability to enjoy real life sexual experiences.
4. Ordering meals on UberEats
Recent media reports show that schools are having issues with students ordering lunch via the Uber Eats app, resulting in school wide bans. Family Zone data confirms that web traffic on the app spikes from 11am to 2pm Monday to Friday. ‘Donuts, pizza and burgers are merely a click away in 2017 and the convenience of having these items delivered means people can have almost anything they want brought right to their door’ says Pete. ‘However, this technology is now being used by students during school hours, which has lead to Principals having to ban students from ordering food from outside the school grounds. Whilst teens are on holidays, no such bans exist which means they’re free to order as much junk food to their homes as their wallets will allow. Poor diet and wasted money aside, parents are also very uncomfortable with the idea of strangers arriving at their homes to deliver food to their kids’ explains Pete.
5. Watching too much Netflix
‘Not such a shock to parents, but a lot of time may be spent watching Netflix’ says Pete. ‘Some time here and there isn’t too harmful, but if they’re staying up well into the night their body clocks will be affected, making it more difficult for them to get back into a routine once the holidays are over.’
3 top tips for protecting your kids
- Identify risks - ‘Pay attention to how they use the internet on weekends as you can guarantee this behaviour will increase during the holidays’ says Pete.
- Set boundaries - ‘Set limits on screen time during the day and non-negotiable boundaries on apps they can and cannot use’ suggests Pete.
- Install parental controls - ‘This will eliminate the opportunity to spend too much time online or use risky apps that may place them in danger’ explains Pete.
Family Zone is here to help parents create a cyber safe home, removing or reducing the risks posed by unsupervised internet access. Our team of Cyber Experts, including Pete are on hand to support parents and provide tailored control settings for teens and kids, removing the guesswork in managing internet access.