ugg montclair TIME for Parents
There comes a moment in every parent’s life when they begin to suspect that they might have inadvertently brought into the world a human being who is just a truly horrible person. I don’t have any particular advice for those moments, except to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and cross your fingers that this too shall pass. Also, sometimes it helps to blame your co parent remember that you and the child’s other parent are in this together. Meanwhile, I’ve been getting a lot of great parenting conundrums from readers, which I hope to help find answers for and am encouraging more. You can also follow me on Facebook, if that’s more your sort of thing.
I’m not a huge fan of Mother’s Day. Kids should not be forced by custom nor greeting card companies to tell mothers they love them. I have relented a little over the years, however. I have a dyslexic kid and one year he wrote me a perfect card with gorgeous penmanship and no spelling errors. I was overwhelmed: “Yeah, our teacher told us you would probably cry,” he said. And I enjoyed doing this , from which you can figure out how much time you spend on various motherly activities in any given year. If nothing else, it explains where the time went. TIME
“Today, the national average annual cost of child care for an infant and a 4 year old combined is $17,852 ,” says a new report. That’s expensive for anyone, but completely out of the reach of low income parents. When our leaders do not invest in child care to support working families, many low income parents are essentially set up to fail.” Read the full report here: Center for American Progress
If your child isn’t on Snapchat, he or she probably will be. It’s one of the most popular apps for teens and tweens and the fastest growing of all the social networks. Why do they like it? Snapchat basically offers a Mission Impossible messaging system: any photo or video sent over the popular mobile app will self destruct within a few moments of viewing.
For parents, this can be a relief: it means that whatever crazy thing your kid is up to now won’t live forever on the Internet.
On the other hand, it creates a whole realm of communication for kids that is virtually impossible for parents to monitor.
So how can parents have start good conversations with kids about how to stay safe on Snapchat and beyond?
At any age, says Donna Rice Hughes, president and CEO of the internet safety organization Enough is Enough, parents need to help kids understand that the digital world is very much like the real one: it has lots of good places and people but also bad ones. Problems in the digital world arise, Rice Hughes says, because we don’t have “healthy boundaries instinctively in the digital world.”
So from elementary age, Rice Hughes says, parents need to help kids set healthy digital boundaries. Today’s elementary students were born into a world in which “the internet has become an extension of our physical lives.” So one of the most important things to get across to them, says Rice Hughes, is that “the internet has not always been here. We can live without it.” She encourages parents to encourage kids to unplug regularly, and to begin to use parental controls on all technology when they’re young, so that when kids are older, parental involvement in technology use like Snapchat just feels like a part of normal life.
Middle school is the age at which most kids are legally allowed to join services like Snapchat, which has an age limit of 13, along with many other popular apps, like Facebook and Instagram. But on Snapchat, Rice Hughes points out, that age limit isn’t verified, which means younger kids can easily lie and join. So even before 13, parents need to be diligent about monitoring what apps kids are using. Rice Hughes suggests that parents have the devices set up to get approval on all apps that children are using, which can be a good time to start conversations about why kids want to use an app and what they plan to do with it and to investigate security and privacy settings for each app together with kids.
High school students may be less inclined to talk with parents about their own lives. And it’s also important for parents to respect their privacy. So it’s a good age, Rice Hughes says, for parents to start asking what kids see their friends doing on sites like Snapchat and what they think about that. Those conversations can help kids form opinions about what they do and don’t want to do and about what might not be safe. For Snapchat in particular, Rice Hughes says, it’s important for parents to get the message across that “Nothing’s really private,” especially in a world of screengrabs and reshares. “Anything that is shared can always be reshared.”
It’s also crucial, Rice Hughes says, for parents to realize they can’t just “have that Internet safety conversation once,” because today’s kids are always online, and always finding new opportunities for good or ill. So conversations with kids about their digital lives should start early, and continue on a weekly or even daily basis.
And despite the daunting complexity of the digital world, Rice Hughes’ advice on how to be “a good cyber parent” is simple: “extend all their parenting skills to the online world.” by Carey Wallace