If you’re a parent struggling to talk to your adolescent or preteen about the worrying internet content they’re consuming, these tips from a clinical psychologist could help.
Dr Elly Hanson isn’t just a clinical psychologist with years of experience, both in the NHS and in private practice. She’s also a parent. All of this makes her well-suited to advise on one of the most delicate areas of modern parenting – talking to your teenager (or preadolescent) about the problematic videos, posts, chats and other content they may encounter and engage with on the internet.
Parents of boys may feel especially worried, as Vodafone research has revealed that 69% of preadolescent boys have already encountered misogynistic content online. Some encounter it within 60 seconds of logging on.
Here’s what you should bear in mind.
If your son has started repeating negative views after encountering them online, then it’s tempting to lay down the law in a stern and scolding manner. However, Dr Hanson emphasises the importance of taking a non-judgmental attitude and approach. “If boys feel judged and are made to feel guilty, then that can backfire. They could then pull back from you, pulling up the drawbridges,” she told Vodafone UK News.
“You can robustly challenge negative attitudes, while also not judging them as a person. Start with a conversation about why they have come to that attitude, or where has it come from. Draw it back to who’s promoting it, getting them to think critically about that content and its source.”