Thursday, November 8, 2012

Beware..Your Teen May Be Smarter Than You

Zits Comic:
Jeremy is talking to a clerk at a cellphone store, parents hover nearby:

Jeremy: My parents need new cellphones

Clerk: I can handle that!

Jeremy:They don't really know what they want, and they're going to have some question.

Clerk: No sweat!

Parents looking around phone store looking terrified at all the choices.

Jeremy to clerk: That's them over there.

Clerk: Stay close

I laughed out loud when I read this, because even though my daughter lives long distance, I still call her with IPHONE questions. She has probably told me a million times how to put someone on hold when another call comes through, and I still drop the first person every time.

For some reason, maybe kids are now hardwired for technology since it is now introduced earlier than the ability to walk! They get how to do just about anything with their computers and phones, including how to expertly hide conversations, passwords,  and can hack back into their computer when you think you have blocked inappropriate sites, or social networking sites you want to limit usage on. But they outsmart you every time. This is not a good dynamic to foster. I love when kids can help their parents out for projects parents need help with like editing home movies, or photos. Putting your teen in the position of teacher can be nice. It makes them feel competent and useful. However, you do not want your teen to feel that they actually know more than you when it comes to their uses of technology and social networking. This is a system that becomes unbalanced in favor of your teen.

When your teens are on the younger side 11-16, they very much need your help (even though they don't want it) to stay safe and to avoid becoming completely addicted to their phones and computer in lieu of doing homework or experiencing actual human contact! I have worked with many parents who say that their kids have passwords to their phones that they are unwilling to share with their parents. Give me a break!!!! Who is in control here. If you have a teen between the ages of 11-16 who refuses to give you their password to their phone, than you refuse to allow them to have a smartphone. Hello basic boring phone! The phone is yours, and you are allowing them to "borrow it." It is not some sort of unalienable right of childhood to have a fancy phone. Kids do stupid things with their smartphones, take pictures or videos that could get them in trouble, write texts that might get them into trouble, visit unseemly websites, and spend way too much time with them in general. Teens do not have the discipline, foresight or motivation to edit themselves in any way. They need your help. You know not to offer them junk food for every meal, and if you found your kid hoarding food in their bedroom closet you would be right to think there was a problem. Same goes with the phones and computers. Do not allow your teen to be in control. Don't get mad when they are abusing the usage of these devices if you have not provided good training and supervision.

This is your job as a parent. Kids do not use technology the same way that we do. Educate yourself, and set limits to keep your kids safe. If you find out that your kids are sabotaging your efforts to help  keep them safe, then they lose the privilege, and I mean privilege, not right, to have them!

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