YOU SPEAK ADULT. SHE SPEAKS, WELL, SHE DOESN'T SPEAK
By now, you have likely realized that dating isn’t like it used to be.
You might be surprised, however, to know that many preteens and young teens start to explore the idea of “dating” or having a boyfriend or girlfriend with little in-person interaction. That’s right--this digitally savvy generation uses texting and social networking sites to “get to know a potential girlfriend or boyfriend and to further develop their relationship.
But, while these young teens may be more technologically savvy than earlier generations, their lack of maturity and life experience can quickly get them into trouble with these new social tools.
If you are not digitally savvy, the idea of interacting with your child on this topic can seem overwhelming. But, your young teen needs your help to make thoughtful decisions so online interactions and texting never turn controlling, threatening, pressuring, provocative or potentially illegal.
Get to know your young teen’s world. Then talk to him or her about how to use social networking and texting wisely.
When Technology Use Signals Unhealthy Relationships
Watch how your young teen uses technology (cell phone, social networking websites, etc.)— be on the lookout for those behaviors which could indicate that your young teen or preteen is in an unhealthy relationship, such as:
- Constant texting, instant messaging or calling with a friend
- Sleeping with a cell phone
- Reacting irrationally to being without a phone or Internet access
- Insisting on answering his or her cell phone right away
- Substantial increases in the amount of time spent talking, texting, or on social networking sites
- Taking unnecessary risks—such as using a cell phone in class
How to Start Talking to your Young Teen about Technology
- Get to know their communication world. Log onto YouTube, Facebook and MySpace to see what social networking is all about.
- Ask your young teen what they like to do online.
- What is your young teen’s favorite way to communicate with friends? Is it talking on a cell phone? Texting? Chatting on a social network?
- Set-up the home computer in a public part of the home so you can be in touch with the time your son or daughter is spending online. (But, realize that cell phones and other electronic devices which may not be front and center in your home, also connect to the Internet.)
- Talk to your preteen or young teen about online privacy. Make sure he or she understands that everything online is public and permanent—something he or she writes to one person has the potential to be shared with the world.
- Talk with your son or daughter about the challenges of knowing the emotions behind a text or an email. For example, sometimes it is hard to know what is a joke and what is not – and things can easily be misunderstood.
Cell phones and the internet are important social tools for preteens and young teens to communicate with their friends about things they think and care about. You can help your young teen. › more
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Electronic Dating Abuse
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