Young people are building community around games and social media platforms. They are connecting to thousands of people around the world, but are they connecting to you?
Quick tips for parents who want to stay connected:
– Don’t freak out about what you see online. What young people are talking about online is often no different to what you talked about with your friends without your parents’ presence. You are just seeing what your parents didn’t see. I am sure you swore and discussed sex…didn’t you?
– Monitor, don’t stalk. If your child is 12 years old you have to be really involved in their online world. If they are 17 years old you have to let it go. By invading privacy you are only going to push them away.
– Know who is validating them. Teenagers get a sense of validation from having people ‘like’ what they are doing. Remind them, “It is not about how many likes you get, it is about how much you are liked by those who like you.”
– Model good relationships. While social media has led to a boom in adolescent communication it has also led to a breakdown in meaningful connection. It is only when our kids are off social media that they can focus on building meaningful connection with others. Set aside some tech free time together each week and do something exciting. I think our young people often forget how exciting the real world can be!
THANK YOU to everyone who has been passing these blog posts on, and for all your kind emails about their impact on your family. If you have a topic you would like me to blog about email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will respond to it as soon as I can.
If you would like to book me to speak at your school or community event email email@example.com.
MOST IMPORTANTLY if your teenager needs support from a psychologist, counsellor or mentor Youth Excel would love to help. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Teenage Girls Don’t Tell their Parents is available at www.michellemitchell.org for $24.95 plus postage.