“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~~