The case of a 17-year-old Indian college student who hanged herself this week because her parents forbade the girl from spending too much time on her mobile phone and social media sites shocked her parents.
What Australians are surfing about on the net these days? Like the rest of the world, they were socialising via Facebook or enjoying the hottest clips posted on You Tube, according to a new study from Experian Hitwise.
Although committing suicide is an extreme form of rebellion that teens will do when their Internet or phone privileges are cut short or suspended, parents have the backing of experts in curbing the excessive use of communications devices.
A new policy document from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting Internet use to 2 hours a day. To ensure that a limit is enforced, parents must remove laptops and gadgets from the bedroom of their children.
This rule should be strictly enforced, particularly if your child is around 14 years old since chances are a bedroom device and Internet connection would be used to view pornographic materials, said Dr Victor Strasburger of the University of New Mexico, the lead author of the new AAP policy document.
The policy mirrors a previous study made in 2010.
Unfortunately, even with much younger kids, many parents use tablets and mobile phones as an entertainment gadget to pacify their toddlers even before they could speak complete sentences.
A survey of 1,463 parents for the report Zero to Eight: Children's Media Use in America, 2013, found that pre-school kids spend one hour a day in front of screens, including TV and computers, and 38 per cent use devices to play games or watch films, higher than the 10 per cent in 2011.
Another study in 2010 found that children in the age brackets 8 to 18 spend over 7 hours a day using entertainment media.
Mr Strasburger said that the two hours daily is a reasonable time limit since it gives the kinds time to interact with their friends on social media without affecting their real-world life such studied and socialising with family members.
Rather than watch porn, another study recommends that older boys switch off from social media and spend a night out with fellow males. Robin Dunbar, a psychologist from the UK, said that men need a minimum of two nights out with the boys to keep good health.
The director of Oxford University's social and evolutionary research group even have specific numbers, saying men must physically meet with four friends two times weekly to reap the benefits of male friendship.
He cited generally good health, faster recovery times when sick and higher levels of generosity as the benefits of men-to-men bonding. Beyond drinking beer and having good laugh, he suggests they also engage in team sports.
However, studies show that one in three British men can't meet even once a week because of very tight schedules, while four in 10 could meet at least once a week for a guys' night out.
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