Monday, March 24, 2008

Wake Up Call for Parents

How to Protect Your Teen in this Age of Technology

Today's teens are proficient in every sort of digital media in existence. A typical teen can provide miles of information about how an iPod works, how to open a new account on My Space, connect a web cam, etc. Too bad they usually do not do as well with history or algebra.

There are millions of parents in the United States today struggling to keep their out of control teens safe from the dangers that lurk online. The Internet is a wonderful tool, but unfortunately, it has a dark side as well, specifically sites such as My Space, instant messages and the various chat rooms available with just one click. These forms of communication enable our teens to reach out and speak to anyone who happens to be online.

Sometimes, as some very unfortunate parents learned, it can be the wrong person conversing, or even meeting your teen. There have been more than one or two cases where such situations ended very badly. I believe we all have the same goal:



So, before you start searching for troubled teens schools, allow me to give you some parenting advice. So, where do we begin? That's simple. The way I see it, our teens are equipped with the latest technology (which by the way, we went out of our way to purchase for them), so we too must attain and familiarize ourselves with anything that can help us. I hate to inform you, but we must SPY ON OUR KIDS! We need to begin our spying journey by considering some sort of monitoring solution or surveillance, key logging program, or keylogging software.

I am not proposing that you spy on your child by following them in a car late at night. I am not an advocate of this method for one very important reason: parents who do this ultimately confront their teens too soon and they go about it the wrong way. I am an advocate of a completely different type of spying.You MUST find out who your teens are chatting with online, the websites they visit, the content of their My Space page, and every action they take online because that is where the real danger lurks. Their strength is in computerized communications and that is where we must go to gather our information.

So, our mission should be:


- Search and find some sort of online spy software. This type of software is sold under various labels. To name a few, parents' software, tracking software, keylogger, chat spy, surveillance software, and monitoring software. Note that most of the spyware sold on the Internet (which is where I recommend you purchase this so you could download it instantly and directly to your child's computer), is completely undetectable to the user. Your child will never know unless you tell them. By the way, do not confuse this software with anti-spyware solutions.
- If or when you find something disturbing, resist the temptation to confront them right away. Immediate confrontation will only lead them into defense mode, out of which you will get nothing but an unhappy teen. I must clarify, though, that I do not recommend speaking to your child right away in most cases, but if you suspect that your child is chatting or planning to meet with an adult or a stranger, do not hesitate to warn them of the dangers. However, this too should not be handled as a confrontation.
- Remember that your child is socializing online in order to put themselves in harm's way. They are simply making decisions based on the innocence of their youth.
- I know you've heard this one before but maybe you need to hear it again
- talk to your teens! Don't interrogate them. Don't pretend to know what they are doing - because you really have no clue.
- Consider installing some sort of video surveillance equipment in your child's room. I don't think this solution is for everyone but there are teens who are completely out of control and parents may feel this is something they must do. Just make sure you find the proper equipment. Use the Google search engine to do your research.
- Take your teen to visit a teen physician. He or she will spend time with your child in private, discussing their overall health as well as issues that kids face during their teens.
- Discuss health education with your teen. Find out what they covered in school. Encourage them to share information but do not show disapproval. In fact, you should show interest in a particular subject. Use your fascination serve as a tool to help your teen open up.
- And last but certainly not least, love them as if every day you have on earth is your very last. Try to remember this next time you feel like locking them up and throwing away the key!
Poem to Mom
My son came home from school one day,
With a smirk upon his face,
He decided he was smart enough,
To put me in my place.

'Guess what I learned in Civics Two,
That's taught by Mr. Wright?
It's all about the laws today,
The 'Children's Bill of Rights.'

It says I need not clean my room,
Don't have to cut my hair,
No one can tell me what to think,
Or speak, or what to wear.

I have freedom from religion,
And regardless what you say,
I don't have to bow my head,
And I sure don't have to pray.

I can wear earrings if I want,
And pierce my tongue & nose.
I can read & watch just what I like,
Get tattoos from head to toe.

And if you ever spank me,
I'll charge you with a crime.
I'll back up all my charges,
With the marks on my behind.

Don't you ever touch me,
My body's only for my use,
Not for your hugs and kisses,
That's just more child abuse.

Don't preach about your morals,
Like your Mama did to you.
That's nothing more than mind control,
And it's illegal too!

Mom, I have these children's rights,
So you can't influence me,
Or I'll call Children's Services Division,
Better known as C.S.D.

Mom's Reply
Of course my first instinct was,
To toss him out the door.
But the chance to teach him a lesson,
Made me think a little more.

I mulled it over carefully,
I couldn't let this go.
A smile crept upon my face,
He's messing with a pro.

Next day I took him shopping,
At the local Goodwill Store...I told him,
'Pick out all you want,
There's shirts & pants galore.'

I've called and checked with C.S.D.
Who said they didn't care,
If I bought you K-Mart shoes,
Instead of those Nike Airs.

I've canceled that appointment,
To take your driver's test.
The C.S.D. Is unconcerned,
So I'll decide what's best.

I said, no time to stop and eat,
Or pick up stuff to munch.
And tomorrow you can start to learn,
To make your own sack lunch.
Just save the raging appetite,
And wait till dinner time.
We're having liver and onions,
A favorite dish of mine.

'He asked 'Can I please rent a movie,
To watch on my DVD?
'Sorry, but I sold your DVD,
For new tires on my car.
I also rented out your room,
You'll take the couch instead.
The C.S.D. requires,
Just a roof over your head.

Your clothing won't be trendy now,
I'll choose what we eat.
That allowance that you used to get,
Will buy me something neat.
I'm selling off your jet ski,
Dirt-bike & roller blades.
Check out the 'Parents Bill of Rights',
It's in effect today!

Hey hot shot, are you crying?
Why are you on your knees?
Are you asking God to help you out,
Instead of C.S.D.?