I have been pondering about cyber bullying, internet safety and the virtual world and its effect on our teenage children. Worrying where our children go in the virtual world and who they meet are all genuine and important reservations.
But what happens in the REAL world? Where are our teenagers boys and girls spend their “free” time, HOW they spend it and with whom? This was on the agenda of my daughter’s high school parents evening. An undercover policeman, a Rabbi and people who “have been there” took part of a panel discussion.
Clubbing, under-age alcohol drinking, Hubbly-bubbly smoking, ID faking and drugs are all dangers that are not unique to a certain area, social status or school. They can affect any of our children who are in their most vulnerable stage; young and naïve yet regard themselves grown up and mature. Their “duty” as teenager to rebel exposes them at risk to temptations out there. And these, apparently exist all over. Even these so called “Under-18” socials are no safe zone from those dangers.
Here are my thoughts based on the discussion held with the panel and parents:
- Technology, Cell phones and the use of computers are NOT the cause for our children loosing respect in us parents. They may be the reason for a broader gap between generations but technology cannot be held accountable for the fact that we don’t control our children.
- Setting up boundaries and rules are crucial to enable us gain control. We are not set to seek the love of our children at this stage. They will appreciate it though in a later stage in their life. Be it based on religion, tradition or your believes these rules and boundaries are our responsibilities to our children.
- TALK to your children, from an early stage, about the dangers out there and the reasons for rules and boundaries. All in small doses from early stage will hopefully build a child that is strong, knowledgeable and have the power to face peer-pressure when needed.
Oh, they will rebel, no doubt about it, but let them find “safer” zones to fight you about. After all this is in their “job description”.
Please share with us how your school and community are dealing with this problem .