“Oh, the noise, noise, noise!”
The phrase from How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss is the perfect example of living with a teen. Whether it is the thumping bass from his stereo, heated debates about curfew, or slamming bedroom doors–there is a high probability that somewhere your teen is making noise.
It can be entertaining to envision your teenager as the resident green grouch living in your midst. They might have similar views on holidays, family time, and dress codes at the moment. Ultimately, there will be days you sit scratching your head wondering when this sweet child took on the Grinch’s personality traits.
The teen years are difficult for both children and parents. This phase of life has historically been tumultuous and filled with conflict. As a teen ages, he or she desires to be independent and their own person. This often involves a power struggle over teen privacy within the family as a teen strives to define his self-concept.
Teen Privacy And The Modern Teen
Unlike the Grinch, parents don’t have the luxury of being able to read ahead and know that eventually he will realize his mistakes and turn around his actions. People don’t have the good fortune of being able to merely turn a page and know that everything will be alright. No, parents are bombarded with worrisome statistics, frightening headlines, and dizzying realities of teenagedom.
According to the Pew Research Center, teens are embracing Social Media and divulging more personal details online than they have in the past. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook have become vital lifelines for the modern teen. This public sharing of personal information has only 9% of teens concerned about third-party access or prying eyes finding their personal data.
This can be a difficult concept for parents to wrap their minds around. The fast paced world of the Internet and Social Media is enticing, but improper use can result in serious consequences that a teen may never see coming. Just like the Grinch sneering in the night, a teen’s relationship with technology could rob him of security, a future scholarship, future employment, and happiness.
5 Strategies For Parents To Slay Privacy Issues
Parents need to be honest and discuss privacy issues with their teens. Explain how nothing on Social Media or the Internet is truly private. Even disappearing messages can be documented, screenshot, or forwarded. Have a serious talk about how online activities can haunt them later.
Pay attention to a child’s behaviors. Teens are notorious for mood swings, bad judgments, and faulty risk assessments. Plenty of questionable behaviors are completely normal. However, if you notice extreme changes in grades, weight, sleep patterns, depression, and trouble with the law you should be concerned. It might warrant further investigation on the parent’s behalf for the teen’s safety.
Don’t spy. Sneaking around is the fastest way to derail any hopes of open communication with a teen. Try to encourage conversations without lecturing or judging. Tell your child that anything online has the potential to be seen and you will be checking in on them.
Promote family. Parents need to make their children feel valued and important in their lives. Schedule dinners, activities, and time to spend together just as you would a work meeting, manicure, or extracurriculars. Show them you care and take advantage of these interactions to communicate with your teen.
Know a teen’s Social Media habits. Stay up-to-date on a child’s passwords, accounts, and sites they use. If you are concerned about cyberbullying, sexting, or oversharing; implement an app that allows you access to a child’s texts, comments, and usage in one easy location. Just remember to forewarn your teen that you will be monitoring him periodically.
Turning A Happy Ending
The world we live in is a far cry from the one Dr. Seuss created. We have Internet gizmos, what-hoozits devices, and Smartphone-abobbles… so many things, things, things! Technology has connected our teens at levels never seen before and they are here to stay.
No parent wants their teen to be stuck in a difficult situation, teetering on the edge of a cliff, because of a poor personal decision. A little proactive parenting can hopefully prevent a serious issue of teen privacy from developing into a full fledged nightmare.
Understanding the issues facing today’s adolescents can help parents enable them to overcome difficult obstacles standing in their way and help them find a happy ending.
~~Amy Williams is a journalist based in Southern California. As a mother of two, she hopes to use her experience as a parent to help other parents raise their children to be the best that they can be~~
Add comment April 4, 2015
Kids Email and online kids safety technology platform VISR partner to increase online safety across email and social media platforms
Idaho-based technology firm Kids Email is announcing a partnership with Canadian-based early detection technology company; VISR to enhance the safety of online communications for minors and their parents.
“We are extremely excited about our partnership with VISR. They have created an amazing technology that literally understands kids’ social media interactions so potential problems can be identified and parents alerted. Between our safe email platform and VISR’s social media safety net, parents will be able to protect and monitor their child’s online communications across many platforms and channels,” said Kids Email Founder Jacob Andersen.
VISR utilizes complex algorithms to identify and alert parents about problematic behavior including online bullying and sexting. In addition, they’re working with mental health experts to recognize signs of depression and other mental health concerns.
“While we work hard to build the best early detection technology, our vision of a safer communications for kids can only be achieved through close collaboration with industry partners. This Kids Email partnership is a fantastic start to that journey. We want to make kid’s communication safer one channel at a time,” said VISR CEO, Robert Reichmann.
“Today’s kids have digital lives, and parents need a way to help protect and monitor their digital activities. The online environment should be a place where children can learn, communicate, and have fun – not worry about predators and bullies. And parents should have peace of mind knowing their children are safe. Partnering with VISR allows us to move towards that vision,” said Andersen.
Launched in 2009, KidsEmail.org is a safe email service designed to protect kids ages 4 to 12 from Internet dangers including cyberbullying, pornography, predators, and email from strangers. The service allows kids to only send emails to and receive emails from people on their contact list while also allowing parents to monitor email conversations. Visit http://www.KidsEmail.org to learn more and sign up for a free trial.
VISR (pronounced “visor”) is a new technology that understands kid’s social media interactions, identifying potential problems and notifying parents when they occur. VISR aims to give children the freedom they want, while giving parents the responsibility they demand. Kids Email is the most recent addition to VISR’s supported channels; others include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Founded in 2014, VISR is based in Toronto, Canada.
Add comment April 3, 2015
When I was a kid I remember passing my girlfriends notes in school, all written in pink ink and folded like a star or triangle, with “code words” mingled in with my sentences like NKOTB, ASAP, or TGIF- not very exciting right?
Today’s teens do things a little differently. Texting has replaced doodled note passing in the hall, and acronyms are a much easier way to short hand a message.
There’re some acronyms that parents should be cautious about, which may be dangerous in nature or have sexual connotations.
(L)MIRL – Let’s meet in real life
IPN – I’m posting naked
DOC – Drug of choice
WTTP – Want to trade pictures?
PRON – Porn
PIR – Parent in room
SUGARPIC – Suggestive or erotic photo
GYPO – Get your pants off
TDTM – Talk dirty to me
Trying to stay one step ahead of popular texting acronyms and have a frank and honest discussion with your kids on what’s appropriate and whats not, might save them from bigger issues later on down the road.
Its not just NKOTB anymore- its much more serious. Play it safe and stay current and up-to-date with the trends your teen may be following.
Add comment March 28, 2015
Looking through most social media feeds, we’re bombarded with posts from “friends” showing off the latest vacation. We also see “check-in’s” where the poster will check- in at various locations.
The danger with posting current pictures or “checking-in” can be a perfect formula for theft. When a status on social media is made, if the correct safety controls aren’t in place, those who are allowed to view your account can see EXACTLY where you are, and sometimes, even complete strangers.
That’s pretty scary!
Especially if you post while away from home, letting everyone know you aren’t home.
Spring break is upon us and just around the corner is summer vacation. Take a few minutes to protect yourself online before you leave home.
~ In a FB posts, avoid “check-in.”
~Check all forms of social media and make sure your privacy settings are lock tight.
~Post pictures on social media when you get home- not while you’re away. Plus, if you’re on vacation its ok to put your devices down! It’s your time away!
~If you’re planning to head out of town for awhile, it may be a good idea to shut down your social media account while away. That way you aren’t tempted to share everything, including where you are.
~And just some common sense- have a good friend or family member check on your place occupationally while you’re away. Have them bring in any newspapers, mail, and packages into the house so it appears someone is home.
Going away from home can be a great time, and you deserve it. Using some extra precautions and safeguards while you’re away can make coming home a great time as well.
Add comment March 21, 2015
Want a fun little activity for St. Patrick’s Day?
Print off this “I’m so Lucky to be me” printable over at Moms Choice Matters Blog and let your kids write down ways they’re so lucky to be them! Every kid has special qualities unique to everyone else in the family. See what they can come up with and maybe add a few of your own- qualities they might not see in themselves yet.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Add comment March 17, 2015
Have you ever had one of those days where it seems nothing’s going right? Especially when it comes to parenting. You’re frazzled and unsure how to place one foot in front of the other. If you’re a parent you’ve had days like these. And if you have more than one child, these day’s seem to happen more often. Or not. Maybe its just me.
On day’s when I want to pull my hair out and scream at the top of my lungs to my kids, then crawl under a rock and hibernate for the rest of my life, its important to take a breather and refocus on why I’m (you’re) feeling this way. Looking back on my own experience I can see very clearly how burned out I was. Once I had kids I pushed all of my needs aside and lost myself- so learn from my mistakes! The saying “if mom ain’t happy ain’t no one happy” couldn’t be truer. So before you (or I) get to the point where we can’t see past the hairy moment, take some simple steps to make sure you avoid parental exhaustion before it happens.
Instill a nap or quiet time- Kids need a break during the day just as much as adults do. If you have small children, try to make sure they’re taking a daily nap, and older children should have quiet time in their rooms (reading books, coloring, building blocks). When you’re children are having their quiet time- have yours! If you need to lay down for a few minutes do that, read a good book, take a bath- anything! This is a great time to refocus your energy and center yourself to be more present for your kids and yourself.
Exercise- This is a big one. Keeping up on your own physical fitness helps to elevate mood and keep anxiety at bay. No need to join a gym- walk around your neighborhood, run up and down your stairs a few times, or watch some fitness videos on Youtube. No matter what you choose to do, stay active and keep your body moving.
Sleep- Having worked at a sleep center myself, I know how important a good nights rest is- for both parent and child. Make sure your child is going down around the same time every night, and make sure you are going to sleep at a reasonable time as well. Put the electronic devises away- and just sleep.
Date nights – Its important to stay connected to your partner and a weekly date night is a great way to reconnect. Trade babysitting with a friend and get out! If you can’t set aside a date night with your partner, find a sitter and take a date night for yourself. Some alone time may be just what you needed.
Keep up with your interests- What were you interested in before you had kids? Whatever it was try to find time to do it regularly. You’re still an individual with separate interests and talents, so do them!
With some practice and a little creativity any parent can avoid getting to the point of exhaustion. Your kids and you will be so much happier for it!
Add comment March 14, 2015
Allowing your children online can be quite scary. Here are some safety tips to help keep your kids safe online.
- Set up limits for which online sites your children can visit and for how long.
- Spend time surfing the Internet with your children and let them show you what they like to do online.
- Place your computer in a high-traffic common area of your home.
- Set up a plan to monitor mobile devices such as cell phones, gaming devices and iPods.
- Keep an open dialogue with your children about online safety.
- Know who is connecting with your children online. Use tools like Kids Email to know who is contacting your child.
- Let your children know they can come to you if they see anything online that makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Tell your children that they can’t give out any personal information like name, address or school.
Remember your kids’ best online protection is YOU!
Add comment March 7, 2015
Today’s a great day to celebrate one of the best children’s authors of all time. Hey, who are we kidding? Adults LOVE this guy too.
Dr. Suess brought to life an entire new world of rhyme and imagination, creating a legacy of whos’, a Yop, a Yink, and The Vipper of Vipp. With his bright and whimsical characters he was able to teach life lessons that pertained to then and now. Plus, his quotable quotes are the best!
So today, in honor of him, read some classic Dr. Suess, find your favorite quote and then share it with us in our comments section below- or on our social media pages! What’s you favorite Dr. Suess quote?
Add comment March 2, 2015
I have a friend who’s daughter has a physical disability. This little toddler has made incredible strides in overcoming her physical limitations- only she’s not limited, she’s a firecracker with an enormous personality. And did I mention how cute she is? Talk about the cutest toe-head blonde you’ve ever seen.
You see, this mom and this daughter have dealt with bullies, maybe the kind that come to mind- the kids who stare or laugh or point. Yes. Its happened and it will continue to happen as this child grows and starts school and continues on with her life. But this mom and daughter have also dealt with mean moms. Malicious moms at the soccer game sitting in the bleachers, laughing at her daughter.
Its true that kids can be mean. Its also true that moms can be even meaner.
Being a mom today is a daunting task. We’re all just trying to do our best with our own circumstances while putting our best face forward. We’re expected to be cooking the perfect meal from organic produce, while breastfeeding each child and simultaneously taking the older kids to ballet/soccer/piano lessons while keeping a perfect figure because we’re supposed to look thin and chiseled, dress like a super model and have a spotless house. Society has done women and moms a huge disservice by upping the standards of perfection through media. But it seems we moms are trying to hold other moms accountable to these intangible standards as well- and letting them know when they fall short.
We are a new generation of moms trying to be perfect online and IRL. Its tough!
Moms tend to be jealous of each other online and IRL. We see others’ accomplishments and wish they were our own. We see our friends and their smart and/or athletic kids achieving things our own kids won’t or can’t accomplish. Today’s modern mom faces competition with the very gals who we should be supporting- other moms.
Mean moms show up in PTA meetings, on the soccer field, in band practice, on your FB feed, and judging you in an Instagram photo. So how do we deal with a malicious mom and protect ourselves?
Call her out. You don’t have to get mean yourself, but letting a bully know you don’t appreciate their behavior towards you sets clear boundaries.
Control your social media settings. If someone’s harassing you online through social media/blogging reset your settings. Block them, report them, unfriend them, and set your blogging comments to “moderate.”
Take a breather. If you receive an inappropriate comment or see something that bothers you online its best to unplug before you respond. Take a walk, read to your kids, or count to ten. Giving yourself some space before you reply (if you really need to) can make you more rationale. Or just delete the comment. Pick your battles wisely.
Be careful not to air your dirty laundry. Its fine to vent, we all do it and need to every once in awhile to stay sane. But doing it constantly can send negative messages. Never post anything that can haunt you later and always double check your posts before posting.
In the case of my friend, standing up to the mean moms can be a tricky situation, especially if its affecting your kids. Use these moments as teaching tools to show your kids that the bully behavior is unacceptable and it hurts to be a victim. We’re all trying to do our best, living each day and raising our kids the best we know how. We moms need to raise each other up and stop putting each other down. Be the example and start a positive movement all around you- putting a stop to the mean mom behavior.
Read more articles on the subject below.
Add comment February 28, 2015