Ask The Expert
June 13, 2013
Today’s children are growing up on the Internet. More than half of teens connect to a social media site at least daily. Three-quarters have cell phones that they can use for social networking as well as texting.
The child can make the Internet private (parents can be excluded). But it is also very public. Children can become vulnerable. They can be bullied or humiliated by peers. They may release private information and regret it later. Predators can exploit them. There are opportunities to become involved in dangerous sexual situations or hurtful relationships.
There is also an upside. Young people use these channels to socialize, learn, create and grow. They find social support from peers with common interests. They get involved in their community. They strengthen their communication skills.
Here are some simple guidelines:
We may never know whether children are more or less at risk in the digital age. Children and adolescents have always had plenty of ways to get into trouble. Maybe it’s better. Maybe it’s worse. But due to technology, today’s parents probably know a lot more about their children’s daily lives than parents of earlier generations.
So parents, even the ones rooted in a non-digital world, are still in a great position to help their digital kids.