Should Teens Have a Computer in Their Bedrooms?


If you look at any “Top Ten List of Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe Online” that you find on the Internet, no doubt one of the recommendations that you will find near the top is: “Keep the family computer in a common area of the house.”  While this is sage advice, it is also overly simplistic.  First of all, everyone has a friend who has a computer in their bedroom.  In fact, 56% of youth in our most recent survey reported that they had a computer that was connected to the Internet in their bedroom at home.  So your child will simply go to someone else’s house to surf in privacy.  Second, they can often access the Internet at school or at the local library.  You might think that filters will prevent your child from accessing inappropriate content, but think again.  Ask your typical teen and they can talk you through ways around filters.  And while teachers and librarians try to monitor computer usage, it can be difficult to continuously watch.  Finally, if your child has a web-enabled cell phone, they have a computer in their pocket – no need for a big clunky machine in their bedroom.  Nearly 50% of the students in our most recent survey said they could access the Internet from their cell phone.

I tend to take a slightly different view of this particular problem than most.  Without a doubt, parents need to monitor what their kids are doing online.  But instead of completely prohibiting access at home or in one’s bedroom, consider being more creative.  For example, maybe you allow your teen to have the family laptop in their rooms for one hour each night for approved purposes only (e.g., homework).  You tell your daughter that you have installed tracking software and that you will review everything that she has done on the computer on a regular basis and if she violates the agreed-upon rules, the technology will be taken away.  On the other hand, if she demonstrates responsibility over a period of time, then additional privileges will gradually be granted.  For example, maybe at some point you allow your child to go onto Facebook for up to an hour per day (after homework and housework is done!).  Another condition of Facebook usage might be that they help you (the parent) set up your own profile and then they must be your friend.  That way you can see everything that your child is doing on the site and ask them about unwise postings or unfamiliar people.  Doing this at a relatively early age (13 or 14) will help to instill responsible practices at an age when they will still listen to you.  If you wait until they are older (16 or 17), you will likely miss the boat and they may have already established questionable practices.

In short, I would like to suggest that parents be creative about encouraging responsible technology usage.  Don’t assume that your child will have the knowledge necessary to make good decisions while online.  We take a long time to teach our kids how to drive a car, and eventually we have to let them drive alone.  We only do this after many many hours of practice and instruction.  Some will get into accidents or receive speeding tickets.  Many will not.  The same is true with technology. If given instruction and guidance, I am confident that most teens will avoid the pitfalls associated with technology.  Ultimately, parents themselves are the best judge of their child’s ability to be responsible, and frankly some kids will not respond well to the added responsibility and privilege.  Parents know when to sign their child up for driver’s education classes, when to have them get behind the wheel for the first time, and when to turn them loose on their own (after getting their license or course).  Parents also have a responsibility to ride shotgun with their kids on the information superhighway.  Putting the time in early will pay dividends over the long haul.


  1. I agree that with maturity and proof of responsibility, that a student should be allowed "private" access to a home computer. I know that I grew up with one computer in the house and it was in a public area. This was often frustrating, but I am now thankful, as an adult who works with children. I do think we need to teach our children responsibility, and in that teaching, comes risk. Installing software to guard students against inappropriate or obscene websites is crucial, as well as the tracking software that you are referring to. We need to give them some freedom in order for them to learn, and then be consistent with consequences and rewards if they have earned such. The driving analogy was a perfect example.

  2. I agree 100% and came to the conclusion that when I have kids, the computer will be in an open area where I can chaperone their every move at anytime. Being able to have a computer in their room will be a privilege when they become a little older. Too much is going on where younger children and even teens don’t need a lot of privacy. So pretty much by the time my child or children is old enough to have a laptop is when they will get their own computer in their room. My mom always looked at what I went to on the computer, which was her job even though I didn’t approve. So for my children protection I will do the same. I know there are parents whom don’t care what their kids’ do which become the ones that stay and create the most trouble. Kids and teenagers are what they are called for a reason, which is because they aren’t yet adults and not capable of making smart decisions.

  3. According to… this time last year, 73% of teens and young adults are a member of at least one social network and 47% of online adults use social networking sites. That’s approximately one out of every two! I had to teach my parents how to use a computer; before I knew it we were pals on Myspace.… shows results of a Neilsen study which indicates that social networking completely dominates internet usage. A whopping 22.7% of all time spent on the internet is spent on social networking. It was followed by online games, which came in at 10.2% and e-mail behind that, at 8.3%. It’s a wonder America gets anything done on a day-to-day basis. Can you trust your kids to go to sleep at night with a computer in their room, given these statistics?

  4. The prevention of cyberbullying must be a joint effort by all parties involved. Those charged with the mission of preventing cyberbullying include but is not limited to educators, parents, youth, law makers and law enforcement. One may be able to determine if someone is being cyberbullied by observing any changes in their youth’s behavior. One may also observe the adolescent’s computer habits, such as lauging excessively while using the computer or using the computer at all hours of the night. As a result of how widespread the internet has become, I don’t believe it is possible to prevent all forms of cyberbullying. A youth in the United States can be cyberbullied by someone in Japan. A student’s role in preventing cyberbullying includes protecting their personal information, making sure they have proper password protection, letting adults know if they’re being victimized, and using the internet properly. Additionally, I believe that there really shouldn’t be a computer in a youth’s bedroom until they are well into high school. Prior to placing a computer in a juvenile’s bedroom, parents should be talk with their child about the dangers on the internet, have rules for internet use, install monitoring software, and teach them how to govern themselves properly while using the internet. In order to combat as much cyberbullying as possible, all prevention strategies must be used.

  5. We all have already discussed how technology is advancing providing society with some advantages and disadvantages. It would be very interesting to discuss the advantages technology offers us, but i do believe we all are familiar with them since to a certain point we all benefit from technology in one way or another. It is very important to discuss the disadvantages since we all see and do things differently and we all experience different things. We all are in different scenarios so we can learn from others to avoid becoming a technology victim. Something that i want to touch is chat rooms. The only reason why i want to this subject, it is because chat rooms seem not cause any harm to people. People see them like fun windows where people talk to other people. Chat rooms are big windows that if not aware bad people can abuse this and come into your world. In my opinion, there are two major problems with chat rooms. One problem is the ability to keep anonymous or fake identities. Many times people remain anonymous or use fake identities to get to other people and avoid getting caught. On some other situations people play being the perfect guy or girl to get to other people. I know this issue is very hard to resolve because there is not a requirement to use valid identities online. However, this is when the second problem comes to the picture; being smart. The identity can be reduced to a certain extend when people are realist, smart and do not believe everything other people say. There is a lot of people with innocent minds in these chats that believe anything other people say. I believe most of the victims are younger people because of their mentality. Parents need to educate their children in aspects like this. I believe this problem can be handled primarily by educating teenagers. I do like chatting rooms but i play it smart because i do not anyone to play me.

  6. The responsibilities of preventing cyberbullying are not solely dedicated to one person. I think the best active way for adults to help prevent cyberbullying is through education. By educating kids from a young age how to responsibly use the internet (and other forms of technology as well) it will allow them to be more aware of the things they participate in online. Although it is a big help if schools and law enforcement agencies help in actively educating children, I think the parents should be where it all begins. If a parent is not aware of what their child is doing, how can they protect them? Parents need to be involved in their child's online experiences. With proper education, and actively monitoring their child’s internet activities, parents and educators can help decrease cyberbullying.

  7. The prevention starts at home with the parents. Parents should be aware of what their kids are browsing online because if not the kid can feel the freedom of bully someone or be bullied by someone. The kid’s computers should always be placed in common area in the house for example the living room or kitchen by avoiding their room or office minimize the involvement of mysterious actions, emails, messages, pictures, etc. Parents should tell their kids to keep one account not multiple accounts and maintain a difficult password and share the password with parents until they are over age. Children should learn in home to respect others online as well in person because if they don’t respect others they could turn to bullies. There are so many tips to prevent cyberbullying for parents and educators that if we all collaborate and work together there shouldn’t be suicides or bullies put there.

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  8. I think that the way some adults treat kids is quite harsh really, some adults treat their kids as if they will go on the Internet and do this illegal thing and this illegal thing and some parents just plainly don’t rust their children. And I know lots of you will say that this is called keeping your kids close but, do you think that if your parents didn’t trust you, that you would be so happy. I think that some parents need to trust their kids a little bit more
    Although some kids are childish and immature most are very good and very mature young adults
    By the way in a teen so that explains me anger

  9. Agreeing with the latest comment, I do believe that it is a bit harsh. It almost feels as if you take a few examples of children getting molested/bullied by others and start believing it happens to most kids. Truth is, it doesn’t. Instead of suffocating your child in safety concerns and internet trackers, teach them. Teach them of the dangers of the internet, what you should and should not do. Not just shove a bunch of filters on them, force them to use their electronics in a public setting, etc etc. I’ve heard so many stories of parents putting the strictest measures they could on a device that their teen used, and it still backfired (ie. teen getting around supposed strict measures). You’d be surprised how tech-savvy most of the younger generation is nowadays.

    Let me use a (hopefully) helpful comparison. Let’s pretend you put the strictest measures on… Let’s say, candy, for your child. You rarely let them have it, if at all, and generally make it a “taboo” thing. When your child grows up, guess what they’re gonna do. That’s right, they’re going to go crazy on the sugar once they’re free. Instead of blocking things like that off, make sure to educate them and teach them healthy habits. That goes with anything.

    TDLR: Teach your child good and healthy habits on the internet, don’t suffocate them in “safety” measures. <3

  10. Oh, and one last thing I forgot to add on.
    You have to make sure your child trusts you. If they see something on the internet that, let’s say, they weren’t supposed to accidentally (For example, an inappropriate website or a cyberbully). Wouldn’t you prefer they come to you and you can kindly educate them on how best to avoid it again? Or would you rather they keep it to themselves, and possibly fall down a darker path? The choice is yours.

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