• Christine Parker, MA

Teen Privacy. What's That?

It's what parents have been struggling with for a decade or more now.

Kids demand it.

Parents hate it.

What to do about it?

Over the years, I have seen everything from allowing kids complete and total privacy to parents who removed the doors from their kids' bedrooms. Personally and professionally, I prefer a rather more moderate approach that I call Protect & Prepare.

Parents, though, fight the battle at home of what "all my friends parents do." They hear about how all their kids' friends have total privacy. No one else's parents check their phones, have their Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook passwords, and absolutely EVERYONE Snaps! (uses Snapchat). And while we all know that absolutely every parent out there is not parenting completely opposite of our wise and careful parenting, it can be hard to stand firm in the face of such onslaught. So let me give you a bit of support.

This survey from the Pew Research Center makes it pretty clear most of our kid's friends' parents are in fact monitoring their digital behaviors, and wisely so.

In raising my own now grown boys through the advent of the social media age and advising other parents, as well as working with countless survivors of predators and collaborating with professionals working to develop profiles of those who actively prey upon the vulnerable in our society, I have come to rely on Protect & Prepare, not as a guarantee, but as a good strategy for protecting our children from those who actively seek to harm them and at the same time teaching our kids how to identify for themselves the online behaviors of predators so that as they age and are no longer under our protection, they will be prepared to protect themselves.

Over the coming weeks, The CenterSpot will discuss in more detail how to implement with your kids a Prepare & Protect digital monitoring plan as well as what to watch out for in the social media and online behaviors of both your kids and those they interact with.

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