I have been living with a teenager for a week now and it has been an education. As in, a big fat lesson in internet safety. Some of you may have been there, done that, but for me, it’s my first time to this rodeo. And this rodeo just kicked me in my butt!
We live in a visually stimulated culture. As if you didn’t know that. Everywhere you turn, sex sells things from shampoo to cheeseburgers. Pop stars are hyper-sexual in their lyrics, dressing, and videos.
So, it shouldn’t be shocking when my teenager sees sexual images online, whether intentional or by accident.
Yet. It is.
Gone are the days of finding a Playboy under their mattress. It’s so much more scary. There are real sickos out there, just waiting for our teens to take the bait on the internet.
Our kids can Google something seemingly innocent and porn will pop up on the screen. They can be curious about a website and get more than an eye full. They can give out too much personal information and open themselves up to an online predator.
Besides the constant enforcing of internet rules, what else can we do to help my teen navigate the internet? By using protection. Protection in the form of big, bad parental controls.
A quick Google search finds a lot of information on the subject of Parental Controls. Programs one can install that will track keystrokes, take screen shots every so often, social media controls/blocking, help prevent cyber-bullying, and password controlled programs.
A couple of highly useful articles I found for those of us who are new at this are Digital Trends and Top 10 Reviews on Internet Filter Software. And, if you want to freak your kids out read this story about the dangers of sharing too much information online.
One thing I know for sure? Get it. Install it. Learn it. Use it.
Okay, that’s four things.
Also. Something else happened. Let’s call this one a temporary lapse in judgement, or who-are-you-and-what-have-you-done-with-my-kid.
Trust was tested.
Did I mention it’s only been a week?
She’s still learning and growing up. I am still learning to parent a teenager.
Just like when I held her for the first time…I admit I still don’t know what I am doing. I am still learning how to do this parenting thing. Gone are the days of time-outs. Now it’s grounding and removal of technology, which is like taking away air.
This week, living with a teenager has been a series of take-a-deep-breath-count-to-ten moments that make me think I have seriously screwed up. We are both learning together.
At least she hasn’t knocked over a gas station yet, so maybe it’s not so bad. Right?
LINKING UP | Holley Gerth, Coffee for Your Heart