As your child enters middle school, they may either already have a cell phone, or they may be begging you for one because “all of their friends have one.” Parents today have a lot to think about when it comes to allowing their child to utilize social media, as well as apps on smart phones, and the many other trends in technology. Because our youth view technology as a necessary element to maintaining friendships and accessing information, it is difficult (if not impossible) to limit what they view, but as parents and educators, we should always be aware of to what and whom our children are exposed. As you continue to raise a middle school child in a tech-happy world, here are some tips:
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- As you allow technology to be a part of your child’s life, consider putting in place a Parent-Child Technology Agreement. This will allow your child to understand that as a parent, you are not invading their privacy; rather, you are trying to help them protect it.
- Work to understand emoticons and net lingo. Not sure what your kid is texting or even saying? There are webpages on the internet that are easy to find and use, such as Netlingo.
- Be aware of the lengths that youth will go to in order to keep a conversation “private.” Kids may program a friend in under a different name, so when you think it’s Lucy that left sixteen voice mails, it could actually be Johnny! Also, be aware that many students text within apps, so if you look at their text messages, you may not see their complete conversations.
- Feel like restricting them from everything? That is a totally normal gut reaction. While you may be able to keep the technology at bay for a few more years, there will come a time when your child will access what they want with or without your involvement. Smart kids can be sneaky! Technology is part of student culture and both colleges and employers want to see that youth are not only immersed in social media, but that they know how to use it properly.
for more information, including tips on how to talk to your kids.
Also please check out our powerpoint from our Coffee with the Counselors meeting to see more information and statistics.