Tweens, Teens and Technology

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Technology… whether you love it or not, it’s here to stay!  And if you have young people around: well, they don’t know how we (as adults) ever managed without it.

When working with tween and teen gentlemen, just a short couple of years ago, I would to tell them the only thing I wanted to see them putting in their pocket was a girls phone number (not their hands).  Well now, that’s lost on them… I get a blank stare.  Of course, with today’s technology, why in the WORLD would you write a phone number on a piece of paper when you can just add it to your Smartphone, ‘friend’ them, or Instagram them.

As parents, some of this new technology and social media leaves us scratching our heads.  Just when we get used to Facebook, Twitter pops up.  You get up to speed ‘Tweeting’ and now you’re trying to figure out Instagram.  All the while, you’re tween or teen is already using the platform and has scores of “friends” following them.

A few things that you need to immediately check into – I’ve recently seen these things with my own two eyes on some Tween and Teen accounts of kiddos I personally know:

Instagram:  If your child has an account, make sure the “photo map” option is turned off; otherwise, every picture they take can be traced to the exact physical location where the picture was taken – yes, your house.

What NOT to say or post:  “I’m at work today and I’m so bored, come see me”, complete with photo map engaged and a “selfie” picture of the young lady standing at the cash register.

“I’m home alone and bored – text me!”, complete with their cell phone number.

Snap Chat:  This app allows the user to take a picture, send it, and the recipient can only ‘see’ it for three seconds before it’s deleted ‘forever’.  Many people are using this app to send inappropriate pictures (sexting) thinking they are safe and no one else will see it. Unfortunately, if someone is quick on the draw, they can get a screen shot of the pic before it disappears, and share it with whomever they like.

Social Media in General:  If it’s not nice, true or beneficial – no need to post it, talk about it or share it.  Here’s the link to an old post about “Choosing Good Words Both Verbally and Electronically”

Take a few minutes to visit with the young people in your life and make sure they are staying safe.  And if you find yourself struggling with what to do and how to manage your child’s social media activity, I’ve found a great resource for you:  Tech Savvy Parenting

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