It is definitely a new world out there. From cell phones that distract kids daily, to vaping that hides the smell of a newly found habit, to the internet that exposes kids to anything and everything, parents are faced with a huge amount of challenges these days. These challenges seem to be exacerbated as kids enter the teenage years.
20th Century Problems
Unlike growing up in the 20th century, kids now have an easy way to access all kinds of information, good and bad. The internet acts as a resource that is difficult to regulate and monitor. Parental controls help, but kids can find ways around them to feed their curiosities. Because of this, parents need to be vigilant and make sure that their teens understand the dangers that lurk behind the screens.
As always, giving your children the correct information first and allowing them to ask you questions versus trying to find out information on their own (when they will find more than they bargained for) is a good way to navigate this unprecedented resource. If you keep the lines of communication open with your teen, the desire to go to the internet can be mitigated and you can be assured that they are getting correct information.
Along with access to the internet, comes the draw to social media. Teens become consumed with posting pics, joining chats and telling the world what they are doing. It becomes imperative to make sure that your teen understands that they should never give their address or personal information online. They should not post pictures that are inappropriate or talk to strangers in group chats or in video games. Teens need to understand the risks and dangers out there to prevent them from taking unnecessary risks and putting themselves in harm’s way.
Finally, setting limits to all electronics is critical to avoid them consuming your teen. While being asked to sit at the dinner table and have an actual conversation, may seem like a punishment to some, in the long run, it will promote healthy social interactions and happier home life.