What I’m about to say here will not be popular with the kids and likely will not be popular with many adults. The reason being is that parents are more interested in being “friends” with their children than they are in being an authority figure in their lives.
There is a point in every child’s life that you will make them angry when you question them, ask them what they are doing on the various Social Media sites and you demand to see/know who they are texting as well as what they are saying.
My question to you is, do you want them to like you or do you want them to be safe?
As a parent we never want to hear our kids say they hate us, but truth is, if we are parenting correctly, we WILL in fact hear that statement.
YES – you can trust your teenager to do what they say or to be where they say but sometimes, you just need to check what they do in private to verify that the information they are giving you is actually the truth. I know this to be a fact that even though they “look” like they are at the home of a friend you know and love because their car is in the driveway, doesn’t always mean they are actually there.
Take the necessary steps to keep your children safe, and one day you will actually be able to be friends.
If YOU pay for your child’s phone, you pay for the roof over their head then you have every right to check their phone whenever you feel like it. Make sure that you do some, if not all of the following:
Tips to keep your child safe:
- Randomly check their texts WITHOUT giving them warning! Simply waltz right up and hold out your hand and ask for their phone. Walk to the kitchen and say, “let’s look at what you are up to these days.” Check their texts, check their messasges in the various Social Media sites. This will not be popular, but if your child knows that you will randomly do this, chances of them staying out of trouble are greater than if you don’t.
- Require that your child gives you the password to all of their Social Media sites as well as to their computer and or pass code to their smart phone. Again, the point here is to keep them from being too tempted to dabble in things that will ultimately hurt them and you.
- UNPLUG – Have a set time that your child removes his/her phone, laptop and ALL other electronics from their room so that they can sleep peacefully while they charge. While I do not have any notifications coming to my phone whatsoever, I know this is absolutely not the case with kids. If their phones are constantly vibrating and dinging with notifications of activity then they will never ever sleep. If your child tries to buck the system and sneak and access texts and apps, then have their phone to shut down during certain times. I’m a Verizon Wireless customer and they have Usage Controls that enable you to have their phone stop working from the times you set. You can set it up so that only certain numbers can call and text during those times you have the phone shut down. This will even keep most of the apps from working as well until the time that you have set that it will start again. If you have to go this route, try setting it to go off at 10:30 pm and turning back on at 5:30 am. And remember, you can “allow” any number to be able to reach them via text or call that you’d like – like your number or grandparent’s number etc.
- Be friends/follower with your child on every social network they are part of. If they have their site set to private and will not “approve” you then you know they are doing things they do not want you to see and you definitely should see it!
- Remind them that Trust is earned and that having a phone as a child is a gift, not a necessity. Take some time to go let them know what the consequences will be if they abuse the privilege of having a phone.
- Have fun! Have your child show you some of the apps they use to simply have fun with. You never know, you may want to install them on your phone as well. Ask them how they can use their phone to make a difference for others!
There is no easy way to do this, but taking these steps to ensure your child’s safety is more important that if they “like” you or not.
If you aren’t a Verizon Wireless client, check with your carrier to see if there are management tools in place, so that if your child isn’t compliant with the hours you set, you can quickly and easily take charge of the situation before it gets out of hand.
I’m a Verizon Wireless Customer and they have an extensive list of Safeguards and Controls you can easily implement – including Content filtering, Usage Alerts and Family Locator. Check them out as several are free.
For more tips, tech helps and the most up to date gadget info, be sure to follow #VZWBuzz on Twitter.
Again, I know this isn’t easy.
It wasn’t easy for me either, but it is completely necessary in the social world that we live in.
Please take a moment to help those that read this article and JOYn in on the conversation by adding your comments below.
What are some of the ways you keep your children safe in this social world?
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