|Jadyn Noelle Photography|
Talk #2- To Tell or Not to Tell
Talk #3- Living in a Porn Culture
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.
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 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.