Two recent headlines featuring the risks of youth using social media reinforce the importance of parental presence on and off line. A recent article in iOL Lifestyle magazine, featured a story about how common it is for youth under 13 years to have established and use social media accounts on a regular basis, and a Chicago news story features a rash of fires set in garbage cans and playground equipment by juveniles who posted their arson acts on social media.
Law enforcement encourage parents to monitor their children’s on-line world. And yet cyber-parent traps can make it difficult to be truly aware of what is happening in their children’s lives.
Below are two cyber-parent traps to watch out for:
Hyper focus on the devices and apps. Rather the focus needs to be on the relationship with the child. Fearful and anxious efforts to control the technology and your child, or worse yet, abdication because you are overwhelmed, will weaken channels of communication and encourage kids to keep secrets. For information about parental control settings for devices and apps, go to: YourSphere. Engage your child in the process of setting controls so he can appreciate how such controls protect him from unwelcome influence and problems. The higher objective is to create a culture of transparency so your child is coming to you to or another trusted adult to discuss new apps and what is happening in their life.
Caving into pressure to grant privacy. Parents experience tremendous pressure to accept some fundamental untruths. One of the most common pressures modern parents experience is this notion that children need privacy from their parents. Clarify for your child that private is personal stuff you keep from the world; it is the antithesis of posting your emotions and issues on line. While secrets, on the other hand, harbor risks and are not in your best interest. In order to minimize your child’s temptation to keep secrets, check your own motivation about the need to monitor. Are you seeking to be in control of your child, or are you seeking to help your child be in control?
For more about governing your home so your child learns to be self-governing and secure in the net go to: A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media.