Teens do not separate their online and offline lives; parents should not either. We need to be present and active in both spaces. StopMedicineAbuse understands this. They support parents dealing with abuse issues as well as helping parents reach across the digital divide. Here is my latest post featured on their FiveMomsBlog.
Start the Digital Talk with a Device Contract
One of the challenges of parenting teens is keeping up with them. I wish I had magical parenting crystal ball, so I could gaze into the future see what problems will arise and map my course of action. Since I do not have a crystal ball, I often find myself scrambling to figure out how to best counsel and support my teen. One of the areas many parents are trying to get ahead of is teens and their use of technology. What are they doing all the time on those devices?
Many are simply talking and connecting with their classmates and friends. They are hanging out together after school in a group chat and sharing pictures with each other on social networks. However, with all this time spent online, teens can run into trouble. One sarcastic comment on a Facebook photo can ignite school drama. The Snapchat picture someone posted thinking it would quickly disappear can be saved and passed around. The pressure to be constantly available online to chat with friends can cause teens to push off homework into the wee hours.
Although there is no parenting crystal ball, a device contract can help families talk about managing technology before a problem arises. The goal of such a contract is not to create a legally binding agreement. The contract is a way to bring a family together and begin a conversation. This is an opportunity for everyone to share their ideas, their expectations as well as outline consequences of certain behaviors. It helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and understands what is expected.