Straight and Gay relationships are difficult paths to walk when you first start walking out into the dating life. This happens in about 8th and 9th grade. These young teens are meandering down a road that they are ill-equipped to navigate. It is a rough and rocky road and they make mistakes and hopefully learn from them to help build on a better relationship for the next relationship. Nothing about it is easy. In the world of high technology it even makes this road dicier and what looks exciting or is the in thing to do become dauntingly dangerous and sometimes illegal.
I am treating this 14 year old boy and he has just gotten into the dating scene. Curiosity and naivety have brought him into sharing pornography on his phone with strangers and has been seen as illegal. He still does not understand the ramifications as no one was ever charged. He is now getting into a relationship and he is infatuated and thinks he is in love after 2 weeks of being in a relationship. Who has not been there? Now that we have technology and he feels he can trust this person, he feels safe enough to send naked selfies to his “love.” He does not realize that this relationship is only first among many in the future. I cannot say that it is 100%, but chances are, this will not be his last love.
He still does not recognize this as pornography and against the law. He thinks that what he is sharing only goes to the person he is dating. He does not realize that his pictures can go viral in the wrong hands or even if he does eventually break up, that his current lover can send them out in vindictiveness. He is still naïve and trying to get his head around this relationship “thing.”
His parents are concerned and they have every right to be. For many parents, technology is beyond them and even then they do not know how to grapple with the extent kids can get into trouble with technology. When teenagers are told not to do something and they do not understand why, they do it anyway. When they misuse technology and do not know they are doing wrong, it is forgivable. However, when they repeat the same offense, maybe in a different way, then something needs to happen. Parents feel like they have lost all trust in their teen and feel they cannot watch them 24/7. They are at a loss and want to put them in a bubble. That is not the answer.
It is about making hard choices. It is about making Teknik och media technology safe for your children. It is about looking up on Google how to set parental controls. Most items have parental control settings. You do have to do your research. Some teenagers are bright enough to hack into parental controls. If you cannot set the parental controls so it gives you the features you want, then the other option is to take away the electronic devices for use. You can block certain sites with your computer. You can make it password protected. In this case, you only log the teen on when you are going to be around to supervise.
When you take away an electronic device, it may be for a very long time (6-8 months), even then the teen may not learn and try again. Again you take away the electronic device and you set baby steps for them to earn your trust back. Teens today feel it is the end of the world without their social media for contact or depend on their music. They need to learn there are other ways to socialize and listen to music. No one said they will like it. It is our job to keep them safe until they can get some better judgment and are able to make better decisions in their life. These are hard realities in today’s world. Keeping yourself informed on the latest technology is the best you can do.