Sexting, Online Behavior, Closed Doors
Growing up in a religious home with ten siblings meant sharing rooms. Not only did I not have a room to myself, but we also had an open door policy when we were in our rooms with friends. Naturally, if we were trying on our prom dresses we closed the door, but we couldn't lock the door, and it kept getting reopened.
I didn't like this, who would? I realized much later that my parents were doing their job and protecting me not winning my praise.
My Mom and Dad didn't have to deal with sexting, with Facebook bullying or anything online; I was a teen in the eighties. Right now parents and teachers are struggling with the internet and all of the bullying and sexting it has brought on. I know how hard it is to maneuver this new and uncharted territory, but it does have links to the past and my beloved eighties, so parents remember this:
1. If you allow closed doors, you will get into trouble. My Mom's rule was a good one so keep those doors open. Doors open means more today though because you need to think of their digital space as well as their physical space. Open doors also mean, maintain their passwords, check their computers, be in dialogue with them about their online world, share the experience with them and get their phones and computers out of their rooms at night.
2. Technology is a privilege, not a right and you have the right as parents to take it away; You pay the bills!
3. The Internet is not PRIVATE! You are not spying on your kids; you are not encroaching on their private life if you are controlling their online behavior. Many parents say to me, "I can't look; it's private!" My rule of thumb is if your Mom and your Grandma can't read it, don't post it! Teach this to them; Drill it into them!
I sometimes say, "Mom you had it easy, you didn't have to deal with the internet." The fact is the basics of parenting haven't changed; Protect your kids, don't worry about being popular with them.
—Allison Ochs Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife