I’m working with a family who has had more than their fair share of technology issues with their children. Inappropriate pictures, inappropriate texts…you know the drill.
These parents are intentional parents. They’re committed, first, to the safety of their children. They’re committed, secondly, to the rhythm we believe is important when parenting teenagers.
You give them trust, as they earn it, and then take it back when they make a mistake.
You give them consequences and give them a chance again.
You start small and gradually give them more freedom as they prove themselves responsible.
And you make the limits clear at all times.
These children have had smart phones in the past, have had no phones, and now are using flip phones so to prevent internet usage. I would imagine this mom and dad know their cell phone provider’s sales clerks on a first name basis. I learn a lot from them.
The father recently told me about a service he will be providing for his children when they earn their next smart phones. It’s called Watch Dog. He says it offers different services for different types of phones, so it merits research.
It sounds like another fantastic resource by folks who are intentional, too. We’re so grateful for companies who are committed to kids’ safe usage of the internet and technology.
You can read more about it at http://www.mymobilewatchdog.com
But, as we always tell parents, whatever system you use, let your children know. If you’re watching without them knowing, they’ll feel that you’ve betrayed their privacy. We would have felt the same way if our parents had picked up the other line and listened in on our phone calls. We, however, weren’t receiving phone calls from nameless, faceless strangers. We do need to protect them. And they most likely will get frustrated with us for doing so. But, if we hide the fact that we’re checking, they’ll spend more energy being dramatic about the violation of their privacy than thinking about whatever they’ve done wrong with that privacy.
So, let’s stay aware. And let’s keep talking with our teens…about what we’re doing and what they’re doing with these gadgets they know so well and love so much. We’ll continue to let you know about resources as we learn them, so we can all keep up together. Thanks for reading, and thanks for being intentional with your kids, too! We respect you very much.