Family Curfews: Can Not Keep Teens Out of Trouble
Looking for freedom is human nature. Everyone wants to have his or her own space and time to manage. When you were a teenager, you sought for independence and tried to decide by yourself, but when you become a parent, can you still remember to let your children be free and have faith in them? Most parents will forget the feeling they experienced when they were teenagers and forgot to make the things right when they become moms or dads.
They set a lot of rules at home for their kids and sometimes even strict family curfews. But do they work? Can they really keep teens out of trouble, or do they make it worse?
Parents like to give curfews for their children like “you have to get home at XX time” and “you can not go anywhere without my permission,” etc. If they are grounded, they may resist it and get into trouble sometimes. In Irvine’s (2009) article, she cites Sanchez’s words that giving family curfews is like “putting a Band-Aid on the problem” (para. 25). You can not solve the problem your children have or prevent the trouble that may happen to them by setting curfews because curfews may cause computer game and pornography addictions, and family conflicts which is not good for building up the teens personality or keeping them healthy.
Family curfews may lead to computer game addictions. If parents give their children curfews that they have to stay at home since a certain time, and because parents respect their privacy, teens may shut themselves in their rooms and do something that parents do not expect. In addition, teens all have their own computers nowadays, so it’s easy for them to have computer game addictions. They will play online computer games just because they can not go out and play, and they do not have other things to do at home.
That is a kind of trouble that could be brought on by curfews, and a lot of parents barely notice that their kids are having some serious problems. Computer game addiction is a terrible behavior because it is something unreal. Teens who like to play those games are always easy to be attracted by the fantasy world that built up in those games and they are more likely to ignore their studies, family and friends. Sometimes because they don’t have a sense of achievement in their real life, they will lose themselves in the fictitious world where they can get a illusory sense of accomplishment.
It’s dangerous for teens to escape to the online world to compensate their frustration in reality and behave violently to which they learn from violent video games, and curfews give some teens excuses for staying at home and doing these “geek” things. There was a news report from Nan Fang Daily, and Li (2003) said that a 15 year-old boy, whose parents gave him a curfew, was led to a serious addiction of computer games. When the parents finally found out, they tried many ways to solve this problem, but the boy was so into it and could not help playing PC games.
Eventually he ran away from home and never went back because he could not endure the double pressure from computer game addiction and from parents. That’s clearly shows that curfews can not keep teens out of trouble, they can even bring them some severe problem, and computer game addiction is one of them. Just like computer game addiction, pornography addiction can be another bad behavior caused by family curfews. When teens are forced by parents to stay at home, they will find an outlet to vent their discontent, and they may indulge in pornography on the internet.
Nowadays, it’s easy for people to bump into some pornographic web sites unintentionally when they surf on the internet. Since teenagers are people that are always curious about everything, especially sex, it’s more possible for them to take a look when they encounter those sites. Moreover, there are so many pornographic web sites on the internet, and people can easily open them, watch them, or even download them. For teens, these kinds of websites provide the exact knowledge that they yearn for. According to Family Safe Media (2001), the 12 to 17 year-old group is the main viewer who search porn online.
So when they are ordered to be at home and are “working” with their computers, they may look at those sites and then are addicted to them. It’s easy for them to want to experience the sensation of sex because their hormones rise which makes them be impulsive and passionate for sex, and it’s possible for them to learn something wrong. There was a real story Mueller (2005) told about some 10 year-old boys who were from Christian families in which the parents were very strict and made a lot of rules. They were found having oral sex with one of their male classmates, which really shocked the parents.
They learned to do it because one of them found a porn site on the internet and were quickly addicted to it. Then he searched for some more extreme sites and told his friends to watch and try to do what they saw on the show. This gives us an idea that if teens are restrained too much at home and spend a lot of time with themselves which is like giving them curfews, they may have computer addiction in pornography which is possible to put themselves in grave danger. Family curfews, moreover, can result in family conflicts. As we all know, teenagers easily become angry, insecure, confused, sensitive and impulsive.
They tend to be more independent and have intense needs to be accepted by others. If there are strict parents in the families who give their children curfews all the time, their children will not listen but fight against them like Marmer said in Irvine’s (2009) article, “If you keep telling kids ‘no’ all the time and don’t give them a ‘yes’ part, they’re going to rebel” (para. 8). There are a lot of families in which parents set many rules for the children that cause family conflicts. Teenagers who are experiencing adolescence possibly will have the reverse psychology towards parents.
When parents gives curfews, some teens may argue for their rights of being independent and make deals with their parents in which case their reaction can be accepted, but others may challenge the parental authority. They probably become resentful and aggressive which may lead to quarreling or fighting with their parents, and they will be hostile and frustrated that could bring about cold war with their parents and result in running away from home or even committing suicide and some crimes eventually. Furthermore, because some teens are required to stay at home, they can not keep in touch with their friends or team members.
They may become introverted, isolated, and negative when they interact with people, and they may become less active in both sports and social activities, which may have bad influences on their physical and psychological health. According to Fox News (2009), a 11 year-old New Mexico boy murdered his father with his father’s rifle because his father was always very strict to him by giving severe curfews and sometimes punishments. That made the boy be angry and aggressive, feel depressed and neglected and want to rebel all the time which result in this astonishing consequence.
This shows that curfews can cause family conflicts or even juvenile crimes by affecting teens’ behavior and twisting teens’ personality which will bring serious family or social issues. To conclude, we should not enforce family curfews on teens because they can not keep teens out of trouble, and they may bring more troubles instead. First, they may cause computer game addiction. If you keep your children at home, and then mind your own business and leave them with their computers in their rooms, they may become quickly addicted to computer ames rather than have social activities because they are stuck at home. Computer game addiction which can be caused by curfews is harmful for teens’ growth. Second, family curfews can also lead to pornography addiction. When teens are forced to stay at home with their computer as company for them, they may easily indulge in pornography on the internet and this kind of curiosity may bring some dangerous problem which has a bad influence on the teens’ physical and psychological health.
In addition, family curfews can result in serious family conflicts because teens are more likely to rebel when the parents set a lot of strict rules or prevent them from their friends. This may lead to severe conflicts between teens and parents that can result in terrible personal and social issues such as suicide and violent crime. Setting family curfews is not the best way to prevent teens from having trouble.
What we need to do is communicate more with them and give wise advice in the appropriate moment like Berger said in Springen’s (2010) article, “The teenager should have his own good sense to guide him when it is time to come home” (para. 11). Reference Family Safe Media. (2011). How to fight pornography. Retrieved (12/05/11) from http://familysafemedia. com/fight_the_porn_addiction. html Fox News. (2009, November 03). New Mexico boy charged with murder in father’s death. Retrieved (12/05/11) from http://www. foxnews. com/story/0,2933,571527,00. html? test=latestnews Irvine, M. 2009, February 11). America’s curfew debate. Retrieved (12/05/11) from http://www. cbsnews. com/stories/2004/02/03/national/main597788. shtml Li, S. (2003, September 05). Computer game addiction: Who is responsible?. Retrieved (12/05/11) from http://gd. nfdaily. cn/content/2003-09/05/content_1520700. htm Mueller, W. (2005). Teens and pornography:always bad, getting worse. Retrieved (12/05/11) from http://www. cpyu. org/Page. aspx? id=163417 Springen, K. (2010, September 17). Curfews: Yes or no?. Retrieved (12/05/11) from http://family. lifegoesstrong. com/curfews-yes-or-no