Listening, Talking, and Observing

November 7, 2014

Weekly letter to the Bishop Chatard HS parents:

Each month, I receive information suggesting ways to help keep our children safe. In one of the past newsletters, an article by Sharon Doty, J.D., M.H.R addressed the challenges of raising children in a high tech world. Excerpts from that article follow:

Upping the ante on our communications with the children in our lives is an important step in the effort to create safe environments. Regardless of the good efforts we make to eliminate risky adults from our lives, sometimes predators slip through the obstacles we impose. As a result, we need to keep our guard up at all times. We need to know what’s going on with our children and maintain and expand our communication with them.

Being aware of what’s happening with our children includes listening to them, talking to them, and observing them. With the development of technology, more is needed in the effort to maintain a safe environment. Being aware now includes such activities as:

  • Monitoring Internet activity
  • Monitoring texting
  • Overseeing the use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other similar sites
  • Talking with kids about social networking communications and the permanence of putting something on the Internet
  • Creating social contracts about electronic communication and checking in with kids periodically to make sure they are honoring the agreements
  • Discussing cell phone photos and the danger of sexual exploitation and bullying
  • Learning about new technologies such as vanishing texting and vanishing e-mail (ex: Snapchat) and how to retrieve information that appears to be deleted from the computer

There are so many ways for kids to communicate with one another, and very few of them include face-to-face interaction. Left unchecked, the communication can take an ugly turn – electronic bullying that can be devastatingly cruel, sexting between teens, posting photos on the Internet that remain permanently.

Being aware of what’s going on with your children requires an ever-expanding role for parents, guardians, and caring adults. There is a new vocabulary to learn. These Internet shortcuts in communication can leave an adult wondering and confused. See an extensive list at www.netlingo.com/acronyms.php

Communicating with children has become more challenging in this high tech world. Expanding the definition of listening, talking, and observing can help responsible adults keep up with new communication as technology continues to grow.

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