Parents have an obligation to know who and what our children are texting. I know it’s a scary proposition, looking at your child’s phone, but it’s okay. I grant you that permission.
We’ve talked about this before. Your child’s phone is not a diary.
Remember that time back before all of this technology we carry around with us? Before smartphones and the interwebs?
Our parents knew where we were. They knew who we were with. And they knew what we were doing. Especially as little children.
My mom knew where I was all the time and who I was with. It was an obligation of a parent to know that information.
Why isn’t that carrying over into the digital world? Why aren’t we feeling that same compulsion as parents to know who and what our children are texting?
I have heard from so many parents, principals and, teachers horror story after horror story. You see it in the news all the time. The cyberbullying incidents, the sexting incidents that lead to arrests and suicides.
It’s a nasty, gnarly world out there and it’s one that we’ve created and tossed our children into.
We have an obligation to parent online just like we do offline.
But My Child Would Never!
And for many parents, they are so unaware. They say things like, ‘My child wouldn’t do that.’ Or, ‘My child wouldn’t send anything.’ Or, ‘My child’s great.’
Okay, wonderful. That’s fantastic. But do you know what people are sending your child?
Do you know what their friends are sending? Do you know what others are sending them?
Maybe they haven’t done anything wrong and that’s great. Wonderful. I’m sure you have the perfect child, right?
I’m talking about all the other kids out there. What are they sending to your child and how are you helping your child makes sense of it and understand it?
Isn’t that one of the roles and the main roles as a parent? We’re supposed to help our children interpret the world, make sense of it, and understand the things that are going on around them.
Even if your child is perfect, remember is a two-way street with this communication. This is not one-way communication. This is not a diary. This is a portal to the world.
So, as a parent, I ask you to look at your child’s phone with empathy and an open heart. If they didn’t do anything wrong, great.
What To Do
And don’t punish them for the actions of others. Talk to them and help them understand these things.
Many of these incidents that we see on the news, you know, these tragic stories, could have been staved off had parents been looking at their child’s phone, had they been active in their child’s digital life, helping them understand these things, helping them make sense of these things.
What we’ve given them is a huge responsibility without much oversight or involvement.
So, I ask you, mom and dad, make a decision. Talk, talk to your children, talk to each other, and look at their phones together with empathy and love.
They didn’t do anything wrong. Great. Even if they did help him make sense of that, help them understand why it’s wrong.
Lay a foundation of compassion, love, and empathy.
Parent online. Just like you do offline.
And one great way to do that is by using the Bark app. Visit www.BeAboveTheFray.org/bark for a free trial.