We Need Guidelines
Here’s a start:
- Get Involved — We can no longer have parents riding the naive wave. Whatever technology your child is using, you need to be familiar enough with it to be able to protect and guide them. It’s part of your role as a parent.
- Create a Firm Age Limit — Why did Facebook set their age limit at 13? Wouldn’t it benefit them if every child on the planet had a page? I’d guess they’ve done their research, consulted their professionals, and the lawyers. They didn’t throw a dart and come up with 13. And from the social technology battles I see going on in nearly every family I know, I’d say age 13 should be a minimum for all social media — yes, even texting. When Henry Ford made it possible for everyone to have a car, we quickly learned the value of having a driving age limit. Just because we have a new technology DOESN’T entitle our child to it. Is your child truly prepared to handle sexting, bullying, group bashing, any more than drugs, alcohol, driving or guns? If so, what is the great need to expose them to it? What are they gaining? Convenience? Popularity?
- Your Child Will Not Be “Technologically Behind” – Don’t Fall For That Argument! -- I agree that the coming generations have to become familiar and comfortable with technology but they should be exposed to it at appropriate times and with sensitivity. Texting, Facebook, email: all of these things take very little “knowledge” to learn and use. My daughter is not going to be “behind” if we wait four more years to give her texting. In fact, she’ll probably end up “ahead” if she spends that time learning to communicate in person, a huge concern industry already has with its future work force. She’s already learning how to use educational sites and the numerous iPad applications (no, not Angry Birds) to improve and aid her in her goals. I’m sure she’ll be as capable as her grandmother was when the time comes to set up her own Facebook page.
- Use Technology for Your Highest Good — All of us, not only our children, should only add technology to our lives if it’s a positive addition. Is it really worth having that electronic tablet if it’s bringing stress, eating up your productive time, or drawing negative energy into your life? Choose only those gadgets and outlets that are for the user’s highest good.
- Don’t Send What You Wouldn’t Say — Everyone who communicates electronically should understand the power of having “a censor panel.” If your kid is unwilling to share every communication they send out with you, their principal, and The Almighty Himself, that’s a sign it should NOT BE SENT. We’ve got to break this horrible habit of electronically saying things we would never speak.
So share with us: do you have a problem with parents whose kids are “chatting” it up on Facebook with no supervision? Is it a parent’s responsibility to monitor and instill appropriate behavior? Is it the government’s responsibility? Both? Have you had a horrible experience with your child on Facebook, texting, or emailing? What guidelines would you like to set?
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