You felt like you were doing a good job as a parent UNTIL you brought your teenager an iPhone. Now you have to wait your turn to get their attention.
Facebook, Instagram, Text Messages and Games have them captivated them…or so I am told by a lot of frustrated parents who want their kids back. These are parents who are ready to fight their way back into their teenager’s lives. Shock, horror…they want to parent again!
There is one big difference between this generation and past generations. It’s not their attitude, because if I recall the Beatles caused quite a stir. It’s not their education or their intelligence. It is social media.
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have a social media account or a portable computer. I didn’t even have a mobile phone. When I was a kid, technology was cool but not cool enough to keep me captivated 24 / 7. We had Donkey Kong and Parachute. Two new games on the market that I loved but didn’t love enough to sneak them into my pocket at school or take to the bathroom with me!
Today social media really is cool enough to keep kids glued to it 24/7. It’s everything addictive.
I would have loved to have been able to dump a boyfriend by changing my relationship status on facebook to ‘single.’ How cool would that have been at 16?! I would have equally loved to send a text during maths instead of passing a note, twice as fast…and gosh what if I could have informed my mother of a wrong doing via facebook to give her some time to calm down! Social media would have had some benefits.
But there are other things I’m glad I didn’t have to worry about.
* I didn’t have to worry about feeling like I didn’t exist if I wasn’t online. So many young people are telling me that their social media use is out of control. They can’t stop thinking about what ‘might’ be happening when they aren’t on it. They don’t want to miss out on anything and that’s why their sleep and study is being compromised.
* I didn’t have to worry about turning into a different person online. Young people are telling me that it is really tempting to become another person when they are online and make choices they wouldn’t make it real life. Who would tell a stranger where they are going (Geo-tagging)? Who would show the world their inner thoughts and feelings (facebook is not a diary)? Who would verbally abuse someone they didn’t even know (trolling)?
* I didn’t have to worry about getting taken advantage of or being manipulated by someone smarter while I was online. Paedophiles are very clever and they are out to exploit young people who are ready to take risks while they are online. I wasn’t tempted to take my clothes off for a total stranger in a supposedly untraceable, risk free environment. I didn’t have Omegle or Skype…and I had never heard of sexting.
Social media definitely is fun, but it is also giving our kids a lot of worry about. Please remember to watch their backs, talk to them about the risks until they are totally sick of you, install the best software you can afford and use your intuition.
If you have a question for Michelle about parenting teens, please fill out the form below. We’d love to hear from you!
Follow Mum Daily