Staying up to date with what’s going on with teens in the news makes one thing crystal clear:
Technology is causing more harm than good. In more ways than one…
Yes, I know I’ve written extensively about this topic on my blog.
And It may seem like overkill…
But don’t just take it from me.
The following are articles that I’ve come across recently (several within the last 6 months), that
sound the alarm about teens and their misuse of technology.
I hope you’ll take heed for your daughter’s sake.
Sexting & Technology
There are a lot of issues that come into play with sexting.
One that’s often overlooked by teens (especially guys), is the legal ramifications.
Some discover the hard way that sharing nude photos/videos via text is against the law.
And a conviction could ruin their life.
That was the case for the following 18-year-old young man who recorded himself having sex with a 14-year-old girl, then shared the video with friends.
Now he’s an 18-year-old, registered “sex offender.”
But that’s not the only way sexting is ruining teens’ lives.
Imagine being the person in the pictures being forwarded…
That’s what happened with an 8th grade young lady who came to speak to me after class one day with tears in her eyes.
She told me she did something the previous year that she regrets.
She sent a guy a picture of her wearing a bra and panties via Snapchat.
When he began asking her for sex, she blocked him from all of her social media accounts and stopped talking to him.
A few months later, her friends told her that another guy was sharing her picture.
Apparently, the original guy took a screenshot of the picture and shared it with a friend(s).
The day she was in my class, she received the following text from a number she didn’t recognize:
“I have a picture of you and this could end good or bad, depending on what you do next.”
The young lady had no idea who this guy was that was now trying to blackmail her.
She was afraid to tell her parents because they didn’t know she had sent the picture a year ago.
Her father is a pastor and she didn’t want him to be disappointed in her.
Of course, I encouraged her to tell her parents before things got any worse.
When she returned to class the following day, she told me that she confided in her dad and he was going to pursue it.
I’m not sure what the outcome was, but I am so proud of the young lady for taking back control of the situation by telling her parents.
Still, it saddens me that this young lady was even in that position to begin with.
We must let our young people know that sexting is a BIG DEAL.
Once a nude pic/video gets out, they can’t take it back.
And if they get caught sending one, it can even cost them their freedom…
Talk to your daughter (and son)about sexting today!
Not sure where to begin? Here is a previous post I wrote about Sexting/Technology:
Mental Health & Technology
As more and more research is done about the impact of technology on teen mental health, the more troublesome the findings.
The Journal of Child Development did a study that showed a correlation between teens’ nighttime phone usage and increased anxiety/depression, as well as lowered self-esteem.
Medical professionals specializing in adolescent mental health find technology/social media to be particularly problematic for teens already struggling with issues, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, social anxiety, and depression.
Some researchers are now saying the negative impact of social media on adolescent mental health has reached a crisis level that demands parental attention.
Thankfully, parents are beginning to do just that…
I met a 17-year-old girl at one of my speaking engagements who told me that she wasn’t on social media.
When I applauded her for making such a mature decision, she said it wasn’t her choice.
She had done some inappropriate things and her parents MADE her get off.
What she said next shocked me. She said, “It was the best thing they could have done for me. I’m so much happier and so much more focused and less stressed.”
When I asked if she had ever told her parents that, she said, “NO! And I hated them when they did it, but I’m so glad they did.”
Sometimes as parents, you have to deal with being hated at the moment and trust that your daughter will eventually see why you did what you did.
If it feels like you’re facing an uphill battle with technology, know that you’re not alone.
But this is a battle you can win…with a little expert guidance.
At the beginning of the year, Common Sense Media along with the University of Washington, convened a panel of experts for an event entitled, “Teens, Technology, and Parenting in 2019.”
They came up with 15 Top Takeaways to help equip concerned parents like you for the fight ahead.
Just remember, if you’re going to take on your daughter’s technology usage, you have to be honest about your own.
You both could stand to put down the smartphones so you can enjoy quantity AND quality time together as a family.
Your daughter’s time with you at home under your roof is fleeting.
So please don’t allow technology to rob you of this precious time you have left to shape, nurture, mold, guide, and pour into her life while she’s still listening…
P.S. While a lot of good comes from technology, study after study proves the need to be vigilant when it comes to your daughter’s usage of it. Unfortunately, it’s not enough just to keep up with the latest trends. You have to be willing to set boundaries (for your daughter and for yourself), and stick with them. Model what responsible smartphone use looks like, and your daughter will be more likely to follow suit. Even more important? Periodically take a temperature check of your daughter’s mental health. Doing so could help you get a head start on addressing any underlying issues before technology compounds the problem.
P.P.S. Help me put technology to good use by sharing this post with your friends on social media. It’s time we sound the alarm about the harmful effects of technology on teens when they misuse it.