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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Cyber Chores

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A national study about family online behavior from Stars for Kidz recently reported that since parents are busy and use computers more at home, but lack the expertise their kids have, a new chore for children may be helping parents with online activities. The 8-14 year-olds report spending about three hours a day online, but half say their parents decide how much time is acceptable.

The report is called "Surfin' on Mom's Turf: Cyber Chillin' with 8-14 Year-Olds," and surveyed over 6,000 kids about chores and Internet use. nearly half of the 8-to-14 year-olds reported that their parents needed their skills on the Internet and 29% reported helping online because mom just did not have enough time. Some of the tasks kids are helping with included comparison shopping, online banking, tax preparation, and travel planning. The reported cyber chores for 8-14 year-olds included sharing pictures and emails with relatives (38%); checking movie listings (38%); party planning (36%); vacation & travel planning (36%); driving directions (35%), and tax preparation (14%).

This kind of report gives a whole new wrinkle to chores and family responsibility. It was a nice thought for me that families are working together on many of these activities, with kids having skills and responsibilities that are valued and important to the family. If families are sharing this Internet time, it is also likely that computers are in public areas and parents are talking with the youth about Internet safety.

Photo Credit: Atari, Gracinha & Marco

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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