The main problems that young people admit due to their dependence on the Internet and social networks

A survey of the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) to 506 adolescents between 16 and 17 years old on the use of the Internet, in which 300 parents of young people of the same age have also participated, reflects significant differences between what young people say they do and what parents think they do. While revealing growing problems related to network abuse.

For a start, 71% of parents believe that their children spend too much time online: 131 minutes a day on weekdays, they think. And they fall short, because according to adolescents the real time is 170 minutes; and up to 213 minutes a day during the weekend. A time that includes online school activities, streaming music platforms or reading the news, but whose main use is social networks, according to the young people themselves. Your favorite social networks: Instagram (85%), Tiktok (81%), Twitter (39%), Discord (38%), Snapchat (28%) and BeReal, the latter hardly known by the parents.

In fact, most young people also consider that they spend too much time connected to the Internet. 22% acknowledge that their notes have suffered from that connection time And two out of three admit that the Internet has or has had negative effects on them, such as difficulties sleeping (64%), changes in their mood (58%), anxiety symptoms (47%), anger attacks ( 46%), social isolation (37%) or the feared cyber-bullying (13%). Problems that parents also appreciate, although to a much lesser extent, according to the OCU survey published in the Compra Maestra magazine in March.

In order to limit Internet access, 18% of parents say they use parental control tools on content. And up to 42% say they set time limits to connect to the Internet. However, the reality is quite different: barely 12% of young people acknowledge the presence of this type of control tools; and only 17% have connection timeouts.

Where both parties agree is in the lack of dialogue about the use of the Internet. Three out of four adolescents point out that their behavior ‘on line’ is not discussed at home; the same proportion of parents who recognize that they lack guidelines to know how to handle it. In the end, the vast majority of parents trust that their children know how to behave appropriately on the Internet.

What doesn’t always happen: 17% of adolescents have a second account on social networks that their parents do not have access to. And 5% place bets online without informing their parents.

In order to guide parents about the risks associated with Internet use, OCU makes an Internet addiction test available to users, while reminding that there is a parental control guide developed by the Government: www.is4k .es (Safe Internet for Kids).

OCU positively values ​​the recent announcement by Tiktok to try to limit daily connection time to one hour. But he considers that the extension of the connection time should not depend on the minor, but on his parents through the introduction of some type of password. In addition, he insists that children under 13 should not have any access to social networks.