Teens these days spend the majority of their time online interacting with other people. In fact, a study by the Pew Research study found that 95% of teens have access to a smartphone or other device, and 45% said they were online almost constantly. This means that you’re probably not going to be able to kick your teen off the web altogether (as much as you’d like to), but the internet isn’t all bad. There are chat rooms available online that can help your teen interact with other people or even find help from mental health professionals in times of crisis. Best of all, when they’re online, you have a better chance of being able to monitor their activity.
Online chat rooms have been around for decades and can be found all over the internet. Facebook has its own version of online chat rooms with Facebook groups, but chat-specific websites do still exist. Online chat rooms are a great way to interact with new people from all over the world, and a good way for your teen to socialize in a way that’s comfortable for them.
With so many people online, your then will be able to meet others that are in his or her age group, providing much-needed support for all of the troubles that accompany being a teenager. Teens will often confide in friends before family members, so having a good friends’ group becomes pretty much vital to a teen’s life. Sometimes, those friends aren’t real-life friends, but rather digital ones. It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t talk down to your teen about having digital friends, as this could make them feel guilty or even cause backlash. There is nothing wrong with a digital friends’ group!
With proper monitoring and education on how to be safe online, online chat rooms can actually be a safe place for your teen to express themselves and make new friends. Since your teen will be participating in online chat mostly at home, you’ll know where they are and what they’re doing. That being said, it’s still crucial that you go over some internet safety guidelines with your teen just to be safe.
For starters, they should never trade private messages or pictures with someone they don’t know, nor agree to meet someone from the online chat group alone. It’s a common practice for people to meet others via the internet, but this can be a dangerous practice without proper guidance. Keep your teen informed about the very real dangers that exist on the web, and teach them to use common sense and caution anytime they interact with someone they don’t know personally.
You Can Monitor Online Activity
With the abundance of parental control software available today, you can easily keep tabs on what your teen is up to. You’ll be able to search their internet history to see which chat rooms they’re participating in, as well as block certain websites using parental controls. There are even some controls available for smartphones and devices if you’d like to keep tabs on your teen’s smartphone use.
The ability to monitor your teen’s activity provides an extra layer of protection against potential threats and poor choices. Teens don’t always use the best judgment, so keeping an eye on what they’re doing or who they’re talking to is usually a good idea; just don’t become too intrusive. Otherwise, your teen is more likely to withdraw and hide information rather than surrender it freely.
There are Mental Health Chatrooms Available
Mental health conditions affect people of all ages, but especially teens and young adults. With so much societal pressure, an increase in social media competition, and nearly unobtainable standards, it’s no wonder teens are suffering from depression, anxiety, and more. That being said, there are anonymous online chat rooms available dedicated to helping those in crisis; which could literally mean the difference between life and death.
Teen suicide rates are higher than ever, and sometimes, all it takes is that one person to save a life. These mental health chat rooms are usually available 24/7, so anytime your teen is feeling depressed or suicidal, there will always be someone on the other end to talk to.
A Variety of Topics and Groups
If your teen has very specific interests, it may be difficult to find local groups that are centered around them. The internet gives your teen access to groups from all over the world, and you can find groups for just about any topic you can think of. Whether your teen is into sports, anime, DnD, art, or music, there’s likely an online group/chatroom where they can virtually meet with people and discuss different topics.