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My nearly 14 y/o brother doesn't have much social interaction (due to being homeschooled) and to fill his social craving I noticed several days when I startled him that he has turned to secretly watching youtube videos and reading other online sources. I was similar when I was his age but my computer had parental controls enabled that eventually led to me being caught and me realizing my struggles and eventually setting myself to go down the long path to fixing it. The computer he is using has no such feature turned on at the moment and I am afraid of the possibilities if he finds the internet to be a better friend than his families. While I do not want to betray his trust so I can continue to monitor the situation, I also am very aware of my own problems and how long, the entirety of five years, it took to clean myself up and I want to tell my mom. To this day, I do not have a close relationship with my parents (quite honestly because of the same things) and I do not feel that it would be wise to simply suggest checking on it to them.

This is a difficult issue and after hours of thought I am unable to come up with a path to success. Any Ideas would be appreciated.

  • Since you mention that this kind of activity ins't accepted in your culture, you may want to add a country tag. In the US, this is very common and acceptable behavior. Of course, there are concerns of what teens can come across but finding social interaction online isn't alarming behavior in many cultures. – cheshire Aug 10 '18 at 22:14
  • @cheshire I will indeed. I am in the US but my mom has what is in my opinion an irrational fear of the internet so it isn't allowed in our house. (which incidentally also caused the problem of the loneliness to begin with) – anonymous Aug 10 '18 at 23:00
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    What culture are you describing? Are you in a particular subculture in the US? Is your mother technophobic or is the culture you live in? – Joe Aug 11 '18 at 1:28
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    I'm a bit confused. If internet isn't allowed in your house, why is it in your house? Also, unless you are homeschooled in a remote area, homeschooling often provides more socialization opportunities than regular schooling (I homeschooled my kids. They belonged to two co-ops, had playmates over or went to others houses every day after school (which ended earlier than public or private school), and attended organized sports, etc. They had vast circles of friends. – anongoodnurse Aug 11 '18 at 3:29
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    "clean myself up" and "path to success" scream of some weird cult like family. Kid will grow to resent you just as much as your parents, just as you resent them because of this weird brainwashing. – user20343 Aug 14 '18 at 14:15
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I see no evidence that anyone has done anything wrong that needs fixing yet. Going on the internet is not something that requires "cleaning up". Maybe his family should work harder to make sure that their child gets sufficient face-to face socialization with his peers.

But really, he's reading things on the internet. This is not in an of itself a problem.

  • But when you have unrestricted access to the internet as a naive teen, it's easy to drift into things you shouldn't. Watching stuff for fun on youtube isn't exactly acceptable in our culture. – anonymous Aug 10 '18 at 21:48
  • so he attempts to sneak around – anonymous Aug 10 '18 at 21:48
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    @anonymous are you allowed to be on stack exchange? – Prince M Aug 14 '18 at 22:47
  • @anonymous No teen is going to run into stuff they shouldn't see on youtube. Aside from that, younger generations are increasingly connection moreover social media and the internet. Keeping away from those will make him isolated and lonely, especially if he does not feel accepted/ at home in your specific culture. Forcing your culture on him will only have an adverse effect as well. – Robin Dec 17 '19 at 13:32
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Don't focus on the Internet thing - if take action to reduce your brothers involvement with the Internet, that will just create resentment, and make him even more isolated.

Instead, focus on the loneliness. As far as you can, be a friend to your brother. Introduce him to your friends, create opportunities for him to socialise, encourage others to do the same.

If you need to, and you can do so without damaging relationships, and you think they can help, talk to your parents about your brother's loneliness.

Is there much to gain by involving your parents in your brother's use of the Internet? Doing so could easily damage your relationship with him, and your parents relationship with him, and make him even more lonely.

Once your brother has begun to feel less isolated - and not before - you can take steps to help him see, for himself, that he could be damaging himself by using the internet in certain ways.

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