Melbourne: Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are making teen web surfers dumber, says a study of Australian parents.
New cyber-safety research commissioned by Telstra also revealed that parents believe the sites are affecting their kids’ health and wellbeing.
The research revealed that 65 per cent of parents with children using social media say it distracts them from their homework, contributing to lethargic learning.
A quarter of parents say their tech-savvy teens spend more than seven hours a week connecting with friends, while less than 40 per cent fear the behaviour is affecting their children’s wellbeing.
Cyber safety expert Dr Martyn Wild said parents were often unaware of what their children were doing online.
"The answer is not turning off internet access, rather it’s about implementing simple behavioural changes in your children and setting realistic expectations about their use of the internet," News.com.au quoted Dr Wild as saying.
He said setting "house rules" for internet use such as placing computers in a common area and setting time restrictions on social network use helped keep teens focused on their studies.
The research, conducted by Newspoll, revealed 84 per cent of 14 to 17-year-olds use a social network and almost half of 10 to 13-year-olds use sites such as Facebook.