Q. My teenager spends a lot of time texting their friends, posting comments to Facebook, and uploading photos to Flickr. I keep hearing about kids who send inappropriate texts to oneanother, or post suggestive photos on Facebook. I’m so scared my kids are going to get caught up in some bad things, and I won’t even know about it, because it is easy to hide a phone or a socialnetwork application. As a parent, what’s the balance of trusting my children while protecting them while they are on the Internet?
A. This question is very timely and relevant to the emerginggeneration. They have been labeled the Connection Generation or the Now Generation because of their accessibility to instantaneous information thru cell phones, ipods and social networks on the internet. Thereis an assumption that this generation owns technology. Because of that perception, there is a great sense of entitlement that young people feel toward anything technological. In addition, there is areal pressure that students experience, from friends, to have the latest gadget. This can cause parents to feel the need to provide their child with the newest “thing” in order to fit-in. Here are afew suggestions to help navigate the sea of social technology:
1. Set Stages
When my daughters were infants they ate baby food that came is little jars. The food was packaged and labeled “stages.”These were for the purpose of providing babies with the appropriate food at the proper stage of development. A baby should not try to eat a steak at 4 months (I learned this the hard way). In the sameway, parents should have a plan that allows the introduction of technology at the appropriate age and in stages. Prayerfully consider this for each child. Every parent knows they develop at differentstages.
2. Set Boundaries
Beyond what popular thought says, technology is NOT a “right,” it is a privilege. When we help our kids to view it this way, then we as parents can determine how that...