Technology A-Z
The Internet
Tech Hardware
Tech Software
Video Games
Protecting Your Children
Getting Help
The Online Mom Network

Learn about The Online Mom Network
Join The Online Mom Network
How Do I Become An Online Mom?

The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Safety Vs. Privacy

One of the big dilemmas for parents is how much privacy do they afford their children as they get older, particularly as they reach the teenage years when they become more conscious of their bodies and how they look. For some parents this is a struggle - if mom and dad have always just walked into their daughter's bedroom whenever they have needed to, it's going to take some mental and physical effort to stop and knock as she gets older. But for a trusting, caring relationship that will endure through the teenage years, parents have to make that adjustment. Just as grown-ups need their space, so do teenagers...and probably more so.

This increase in privacy should also extend to teenagers' phone calls and other communications... and, yes, even to their online activities! Why? Because kids build trust in their parents, and more importantly in themselves, by being given responsibility. And time spent alone with their friends, their computer, and their thoughts are important steps on the road to a more mature attitude and behavior. A teenager that is always being told they can't be trusted or are too young to be allowed to do something that other kids of their age are doing is in danger of having a diminished sense of worth. And they are far more likely to realize their parents' worst fears by abusing their trust when the opportunity finally comes along!

However, increased privacy and responsibility doesn't mean that the rule book is suddenly thrown out of the window. In the same way that a teenager should have a clear idea of how late they can stay out and where they can and can't go, there should be a clear set of rules when it comes to technology and use of the Internet. As long as the rules are being observed, and there are no behavioral issues, your child should expect to be given the space and privacy they need to find their way in the digital world and develop friendships online and as well as offline.

Assessing the risk

With most tech gadgets like cell phones, video game players or iPods, it's fairly easy to monitor use and adjust rules to suite each individual. But what about the time they spend online? In the password-protected and often highly secretive world of the Internet chat room, how do you know that rules are being followed and that your teenager isn't putting his or herself knowingly or unknowingly at risk?

One easy way is to find out is to see if they have a MySpace or Facebook page and, if yes, ask them to show it to you. These days, any teenager that is spending a lot of time online is almost certainly represented on one of these or another of the main social networking sites. Even if they don't want you listed as a friend (which might not look too cool to their other friends!), then you should be able to sit with them and look at their profile, friends and pictures. Show interest in all their friends, find out who they are, admire the pictures, encourage them to keep the pages current...anything to show that you're interested and that you regard them as an important representative of the family. These days, a teenager's Facebook page can be a mini biography and can tell you more about their interests and the company they keep than you might ever find out elsewhere!

Make a deal

For the more private areas of the Internet, sit down with your teenager and try to make THE DEAL. In THE DEAL, you let them know that you are insisting on installing spyware and tracking software on their home computer but you promise them that you are never going to access it or use it to monitor them....unless they give you a strong reason to! Fans of Joseph Heller will recognize the Catch 22 situation that your teenager now finds himself in. If he says yes, then he better be prepared to follow the rules or risk the consequences. If he says no, then his parents are going to suspect him of breaking the rules already! Ultimately a smart kid will nearly always sign on for the deal. If he does something that he shouldn't be doing, the evidence will all be there for his parents to see - web sites visited, e-mail, IMs, chat room conversations. However, if he stays within the rules, or if he doesn't give them any reason to suspect him, he is free to do whatever he wants and go wherever he pleases!

The only way this will work? By all parties setting off down the two-way street of trust. And your teenager's understanding that you are doing this to protect them should anything bad happen. It's exactly like giving them the keys to the car on a Friday night - one drink and they breach the trust...and it's a long time before they get those keys back again!

So if you are convinced there is a problem that you need to know about, jump in and find out. Safety always trumps privacy. But if you have a happy, well-adjusted teenager and you're not concerned about their online habits, you better be prepared to hold up your end of the bargain! No snooping, no quick looks at their e-mail or IMs. No visiting their preferred web sites.

Oh - and make sure you knock before you go barging into their room!

Permalink | Print | Email

Share this article!
Partner with Online Mom Media
Online Mom Media specializes in building powerful communities of influencers! [read on]
Special Twitter Event
Join @theonlinemom this Thursday at 9pm ET as we introduce Thrively, a fun and interactive family web site! #Thrively
[read on]
Join the BUZZ!
Join @theonlinemom and friends this Friday at 12 noon PT as we look at Simplifying Mobile Tech. Great prizes! #VZWBuzz [read on]
The Online Mom Blog
Connecting Your Mobile Lifestyle
[read on]
Cómo encontrar en línea las mejores ofertas
Visite La Online Mom en Español! [read on]
Stacey Ross on The Online Mom
Catch up on the digital lifestyle with Stacey Ross!
[read on]
PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One: Parental Controls
Which of the new gaming consoles offers better parental supervision? [read on]
How To Make the Most of Those Daily Deals
Take a closer look at those daily deals to make sure you're getting a bargain!
[read on]
Watch Out! Your Wristband Is Tracking You…
New ways to monitor two of the most important elements that factor into our overall health: exercise and sleep [read on]
How To Beat Spam with Disposable E-Mail Addresses
There's an alternative to giving out your online information (or turning into a digital recluse): the disposable e-mail!
[read on]
Managing Your Online Reputation
There are some simple steps we can take to safeguard our online reputations [read on]
7 Apps for Finding Stuff Online
Loking to buy and sell online? Your smartphone can help!
[read on]
How to Manage Your Cell Phone Bill
Don't be overwhelmed by that cell phone bill. We offer 7 tips that can help [read on]
7 Social Networking Tips for Graduates
About to graduate? It's time to clean up those social networking accounts!
[read on]
The Best Apps for Staying in Shape
10 great apps for turning your smartphone or tablet into your workout buddy! [read on]
7 Steps to Smartphone Safety
Buying that first smartphone for your child? Make safety a top priority!
[read on]
10 Essential Apps for the Busy Mom
Turn your smartphone into your very own personal assistant! [read on]
Tweens and Facebook:
Do you think children under the age of 13 should be allowed on Facebook?

Not Sure

© 2011 the online mom, all rights reserved | site map ABOUT     MEET THE TEAM     CONTACT US     ADVERTISE     PRESS     PRIVACY     LEGAL
As you may have guessed, it is made of titanium and some stainless steel¡ªthe case is titanium and the rolex replica sale is stainless steel. The dial is brown, the watch hands are silver-toned, and there is a date window at the four o¡¯clock position. The sapphire case protects the breitling replica sale from water damage up to 30 meters. Synergy means cooperative action. This replica watches uk combines the best of the old and the new to deliver something uniquely modern. All of the classic elements are there. It has the sleek and stylish dial of the replica watches uk, the concave dot at the 12 o¡¯clock hour, and the Swiss quartz movement. But the Sapphire Synergy has something few breitling replica sale offer, a rubber wristband. Why rubber? Well, it¡¯s not a sport rolex replica sale, so using it outdoors is out of the question. But the informal band gives it a more casual look and feel, which can be quite appealing to the modern male.