Keeping Up With Kids’ Technology Use

Wednesday May 29, 2013

By Sherri M. Gordon

If you are the parent of a middle school student, then you are probably overwhelmed by how quickly things in your kids' lives are changing. Not only are their bodies going through a number of changes but so are their relationships, their ideas and even their use of technology.

Recently, I have been surprised by the number of conversations I have had with other parents regarding young tweens' and teens' misuse of technology. And as a parent, it's certainly hard to keep up with all that is available to them. It seems we are always one step behind.

For instance, some kids have started using a video program called Vine while others are happy with YouTube for videos. I knew very little about Vine until this week when a friend asked me about it. Now I know it's something I don't want my tween daughter to use. Trying to keep up with all the apps that are available for their smartphones is mind-boggling.

Yet amidst all this technology, bullying is still an issue. Kids are always finding new ways to bully and cyberbully one another. Take for example, the video program Vine I just mentioned. Kids are using this program to secretly videotape one another and then post the snippets. While some videos are benign, others are downright cruel. Or consider the app Snapchat. Kids are misusing Snapchat to send sexually explicit photos and other inappropriate materials. Where will it all end?

As parents, it can seem frustrating and overwhelming. Technology changes every day and our kids will always be more adept at using it than us. But I believe if we continue to talk with one another and share what we have discovered we will be able to address potential issues before a problem arises. We just have to keep talking. We have to keep sharing resources. So with that said, check out the following resources regarding sexting and cyberbullying. Share them with your friends. And send me an e-mail if there is something you would like to see covered.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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