Wednesday June 19, 2013
Challenges The Non-Techie Parents Face
Are there reasonable yet safe boundaries?
There are plenty of reasonable boundaries parents can set for their teen’s internet usage. What many parents find difficult and time-consuming though is constantly monitoring the boundaries they’ve put into place.
One such boundary is the ability on many social networking sites to restrict the individuals with whom the teen is allowed to communicate. When properly set, these privacy measures allow communication with family, friends and other “approved” persons, while restricting access to the teen’s profile and therefore the ability to communicate.
Another boundary is agreeing on the type of information your teen is allowed to post about him or her and about others. For example, it’s never a good idea to post personal or financial details anywhere but on a secure website and always with a parent’s prior permission. It’s likewise not a good idea to post private information like journals and photos or party announcements because you never know who will eventually view such information – and what that person will do once he or she has such information.
As a parent, you have every right to know all the passwords your teens use on all the sites they visit. That way you can log in any time and see what’s going on. Just as you do with their friends in the real world, you have a right to know who your teens are meeting and communicating with in cyberspace. Your obligation to keep your teen safe supersedes that teen’s right to privacy.
Should teens have internet access in their bedroom?
Whether or not teens should have internet access in their bedroom ultimately is a decision that only a parent or caregiver can make. Some experts believe that without a doubt, teenagers should only be able to access the internet from a computer that’s out in full view, like the one in the kitchen or family room.
This offers some degree of protection against misuse, but today’s teens can access the internet from any number of places including the public library, their school, and in the homes of their friends. If they want access to the internet without a parent knowing the sites they’re visiting, they’ll get it.
What may be a better option is being open and frank about the potential dangers lurking in cyberspace. Ongoing dialog not only shows that you care about your teen’s safety, it also shows you are aware of the dangers. Like it has been throughout every generation, communication is key.
Preparation and challenges the Non-Techie Parents Face
Last week, my friend’s middle school-aged daughter came home with an assignment: bring in an owl sound and get 10 extra credit points. In less than 5 minutes she Googled “owl sounds,” found one she liked, recorded it using her cell phone and then made it her ring tone on her cell phone. The next day in class she made her cell phone ring and just like that she earned the extra credit.
Astonished to say the least, it was at that point that my friend realized how little she knows about today’s technology.
Being behind on the learning curve of technology is a parent’s biggest challenge when it comes to dealing with teens and all their electronic wants and needs.
The challenge starts even before the purchase, with the decision. Whether or not to give their teens a cell phone or an internet connection is not an easy choice for parents. It’s true we all like our kids to have the things that the other kids have. But let’s face it, technology isn’t cheap and it’s confusing.
Are Parents Clueless?