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Awkward Talks. I wish we didn't have to have them. I wish they weren't needed.
But they are.
What is an Awkward Talk? (def)- important subjects to talk about that may cover topics not easily addressed due to uncomfortable feelings, or that may not fit easily into normal day to day conversation.
If you missed out on the awkwardness we have already covered, don't be left out! Here they are:
Talk #1- Creepers and Pedophiles
These talks were all created to help you, the parents, cover topics with your children, at whatever level their age makes appropriate.
Today, Awkward Talk #4 is a little different. It's me talking to you, the parents.
The awkward part is that you're probably not going to think this applies to you or your kid. But you're the ones I'm talking to. It very well possible that it does apply to them, right now. Especially if you think it doesn't.
I've heard too many stories that make me realize no one is immune. Things happen all the time with kids that are supposed to be the ones "who never would". I haven't met any one yet that is beyond something we think them incapable of. Because we're all human! No one is perfect or mistake free. Yes, even "good kids".
So if you think "not my kids", stop, at least read this, then consider doing some random checks. At least you'll know for sure. (Better yet, check more than once, at random times.)
Here are some of the random things that I know have happened over the last 9 years of having teens, knowing many and meeting with teen girls from various schools, among good kids from great families.
have sent and/or received sexts (texts with nudity).
have met strangers on trips out of town and put their phone numbers in their phones to communicate with them when they're back home.
won't let anyone on their phones and keep them super private.
parents don't know their kids passwords on their phones, and have no idea what they do on them, or who they are talking to.
put some people under fake names in their phones so parents don't know who they really are.
talk differently on texts than they ever do in front of parents.
have had inappropriate relationships with a teacher that started through texting.
have accessed p o r n
To name a few.
Everytime I think I'm overboard and too serious, I hear of another real story right here in my little world, that makes me realize no, this stuff is real and going on. We have to pay attention.
Nothing in itself is the end of the world, but with a little checking, some wrong paths can be averted.
Every kid messes up at some point, and with all the things in their worlds that we didn't have, it's more complicated and there's more opportunity for mess ups. Let's at least make it difficult to mess up.
First, let's get informed. Here is an article that I found that super helpful:
10 Technology Secrets Kids Keep From Their Parents
You can find out a lot about someone by their openness with their phone, their apps, their statuses, tweets and favorites.
What should we do?
Know all of their passwords if you don't already. Email, Facebook, Twitter, cell phones, Tumblr, Instagram.
Do random checks on each. Know who their phone contacts are. Look at the apps on their phone. Make sure they really know their Facebook friends. Read their statuses, their tweets. Read their "favorited" tweets. Google their name. Look at the web history on your computer. Look at the trash bin on your computer. Read your phone bill and see who, how much and when they are texting and talking. And ask questions. (If you have no idea how to do this, bring over a web savvy friend for coffee to teach you).
Let them know you reserve the right to read anything if you have a gut feel you need to. Some parents read their kids texts. We reserve the right, but rarely do, unless a gut feel comes along.
Definitely check out your own child. There may come a time you want to even check out their friends you don't know, boyfriends/girlfriends...whoever they are spending time with. They call this "creepin", but it's a perfectly public way to get info on someone. It is public domain. You won't have friends' passwords obviously, but you can see Facebook or Twitter if it is not privately set. You can learn a lot that way.
Are there any kids who come out unscathed by all this? Of course. But I'm just asking you to not assume it. Don't assume yours never would. Because they might. Every kid deserves to be checked up on, to keep them safe in this complicated world.
If you find something, don't freak out. Cool down, and at a good time, broach the subject, with proof. Use it as a teaching time, discussion, boundaries, corrections.
It's okay for you as a parent to have all of your kids passwords and for you to check on them. You can still give them privacy overall, but let them know that random checks at your discretion will be happening. It's for their safety. I believe in privacy to a degree, but with all the complications and dangers in the world, there is a limit to that as far as I'm concerned. I know not everyone will agree and that's okay. (Just giving my opinion).
It pays to be tech savvy when you're a parent.
Hopefully that wasn't too awkward...and I hope and pray that when you check on your child, you don't find a thing offensive.
Love your posts, as always. They are so challenging. Nominating you for a little blogging award today, check out the details at my blog. You don't have to participate but I hope a few of my readers wonder your way.ReplyDelete
Laura, how fun!! thank you! :) exciting stuff for new bloggers... you're so kind. And I would love for my readers to check out your site at www.pruningprincesses.blogspot.com. You're right, so similar, just a few steps back in age.Delete
Great post, Holly. Good advice. We've had a lot of run-ins with our kids and the technology. They sometimes hate it when we dig into their business and they kick and scream, but its always the right thing to do as a parent. I'm not super nosey with my kids when they are being open with me and demonstrating trustworthiness and sharing their struggles, but they aren't always that way and I have to investigate why. There are influences coming and going all the time. I try to keep my ears and eyes open with that God-given intuition to see the signs of secrecy. Its hard in our busy lives to pay close attention, so this really helps to remind me. Its important! I can't remember their p/ws to everything. Dear Lord, I don't even have their phone numbers all memorized. I can't even remember my own p/w half the time. hahaReplyDelete