Any parent of a teen or even a pre-teen child today knows the pressure is on to keep their child safe, even as they begin to venture into the big wide world.
In earlier eras, parents had to worry about the influences of television and the evils of rock ‘n roll. In even earlier times, parents worried about their children rolling their own cigarettes and spending time with ‘bad companions.”
Today, parents have whole other levels of concern, even as their children can enjoy the advantages of living in a more open and sophisticated society. Families today can speak openly of certain realities, like concerns about the changes of puberty and the need for birth control. These conversations were once unthinkable in some families.
Yet with all this openness can come concern over a lack of control about what children are exposed to socially. The Internet, which is so new and so pervasive today, has quickly become a major social influence in education and family life. It’s all happened before we’ve had a chance to think about the ramifications of it all – and it’s happened without our permission.
The power of instant communication with the Internet and all the social media it involves–including Facebook, Myspace, Youtube and more—can make some parents feel they are losing their power and influence over their children.
What can parents do to gain back their control? Stay involved in what their children are doing and seeing. It’s age-old advice, but today it’s more important than ever that parents know what kind of information their children are getting off the Internet. If too much is coming in—parents must know when it’s time to turn the cell phones and the computer off—and talk to their kids.