This is a guest post by Tyler Jacobson.
Every generation grows up more familiar with technology than the one that came before it. From cars to computers, and now small computing devices such as smartphones and tablets, our children are growing up surrounded by technological advancements we didn’t have as kids.
Despite the fact that they’re able to pick up and use complex electronics, and use them effectively, doesn’t mean they’re able to do it with wisdom. While having access to all of the information on the Internet is helpful, there are still many dangers they’re plowing into headfirst.
When it comes to technology, its use means taking the good with the bad. Despite the Internet existing as the ultimate source of information, it’s also where teens can not only unknowingly get themselves into trouble, but potentially ruin their chances for success in the future.
It’s up to us as their parents to discuss the dangers with them so that they can avoid any trouble.
Once a photo is posted to the Internet or texted to someone, all control over where it goes is lost. Despite privacy settings on social media, it’s a simple matter of copying a photo and reposting it. For photos of vacations or pets, this may not be a big deal, but if your teen posts compromising pics of themselves, there’s no telling whose hands they could fall into.
2. Personal Information
Most teens have yet to have the life experience necessary to instill a healthy sense of discernment when it comes to trust and understanding risks. It can be as simple as giving out their home address, or as detrimental as their social security number and identity information to an online predator — ruining their record before it even has the chance to get started.
3. Cheating in School
All of the knowledge on the Internet is there at their fingertips, and for some teens, the temptation to use their smartphone to look up answers during a test can be too great to ignore. The punishment for getting caught cheating can vary depending on the school, but expulsion is not uncommon.
Teens may feel that sexting — the act of sending sexy messages and photos of themselves — can be considered “safe sex” since no physical contact is being made, but just like with photos, once those messages are sent, there’s no way to get them back. What’s worse is that if they send nude photos of themselves, that can be construed in many states as child pornography, a felony that can land your child, as well as anyone who received the picture, in a lot of trouble with the law.
Too few parents expect their teen to understand the consequences of actions without having been taught, but our children need us. Studies show that parents who are involved with their teen’s technology use can prepare them to properly use their smartphones and computers wisely.
It’s an exciting time to be alive, and new technology is released every year. It’s important for parents not to take a backseat in teaching children how to navigate tech safely, and talk to them before they learn lessons the hard way.
Tyler Jacobson is a proud father, husband, writer and outreach specialist with experience helping parents and organizations that help troubled boys. Tyler has focused on helping through honest advice and humor on modern day parenting, struggles in school, the impact of social media, addiction, mental disorders, and issues facing teenagers now. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | Linkedin