Do kids want their parents to create boundaries? What about digital boundaries?
We were just debating that here at ParentingTodaysKids earlier in the week. Some of our younger staff felt “no way!” while others of us have the feeling that at the end of the day kids really want to know that there is a safety net there for them. They want to know that someone cares about where they are and who they are with and what they are doing. They may roll their eyes back and throw sarcasm out but I think that some … not all … teens do want their parents to set boundaries, both online and off.
In my role at SpectorSoft, I spend a lot of time each month reading customer testimonials and listening to their stories. Some are stories of saving their kids from real danger while other stories are about “teachable moments.” In a lot of cases, parents tell me that they let their kids know they are monitoring what they do online and on their phones. The stake are getting high and a lot of kids seem to get that.
There was a recent article in the Wall Street Journal this week about parents and the issue of monitoring their kids online. In this article, Alexis, a 13-year old teen, said that for now, at least, she does not mind the monitoring. She feels safer for it, she says, “like I’m being watched over.”
She also knows that what she posts can be read by anyone and everyone and goes on to talk about the fact that recently she was tempted to retaliate on Facebook against a friend who had spread rumors about her, but she decided against it when she remembered that her mom could see. “Having your parents monitor makes you think twice about what you put,” Alexis said.
Yes, there is a danger in the data point of one but before parents get all “I am afraid of becoming big brother” or “my kids would not trust me if I monitored what they did online,” please take a minute to talk to them … and more importantly l.i.s.t.e.n.