Kim Hudson: Once it’s out, there’s no taking it back

Texting-Teen-e1349829708646

I’ve written about social media before and my constant worry as a parent. I strongly believe that this addition to today’s technology has caused so many problems for our youth and we cannot even begin to know all the ramifications associated with social media.

As parents we have to understand what our children are exposed to and the potential dangers that social media presents.

It is hard to keep up with the latest and greatest – but handing your child their own technological device (laptop, phone, iPad, iPod, etc) without educating them and setting boundaries is like handing them their own car at sixteen and waving bye as they back down the driveway without ever providing a driving lesson.  It is setting the course for potential disaster.

Hudson.Col.MugThe teenage (and pre-teen) years are notorious for when kids pull away from their parents and turn more to outside influences; friends, entertainment, celebrity role models.

Peer pressure is at its finest during those years. I remember it well. I’d venture to say that many of you with teenagers probably experience a lot of what I do in my house. My teenager spends as few hours of the day as possible interacting with his parents.

This is nothing new. I did that when I was a teen. The difference now is our kids are in possession of what appears to be a harmless device that gives them access to the whole world – right at their fingertips.

The reality is that most of us don’t know what our kids are doing on their devices at any given time. Kids know how to delete the history of what has been viewed online. They are experts at deleting messages and social media posts at record speeds.

So even if you check your child’s screen, it is easy to miss something. It certainly doesn’t help that apps such as Snap Chat allow you to send and receive pictures and texts that automatically delete after you’ve viewed them. And the debate runs wild on whether we should be checking our children’s phones or not.

My 11-year-old has an iPod. She loves to play games and listen to music. We have it set up so she has to come to me for a password to download any apps or such on her device. We haven’t allowed her to have any social media accounts yet but let me share with you how easy it is for kids to become connected.

A few months ago my oldest was into a game called Trivia Crack. It’s an app that you can download on any device and you play a trivia game against known friends or randomly selected players. I downloaded the app onto my phone so I could play too.

The game itself is fine and even a bit educational so we put the app on my daughter’s iPod as well. It did not take long for her to figure out that she could “chat” with her friends through this game. And I had no idea.  While this is pretty innocent it just highlights the ease with which our children maneuver through technology.

It’s a harsh reality when your dinner conversation with a 14 and 11 year old is about not sending nude pictures via texts or social media sites. We cannot stress strongly enough to our kids that once you put something out there through technology you cannot take it back. Ever.  As hard as it is to have these conversations with our kiddos it is absolutely necessary.

Our kids are growing up in a society with very few limits. And we are chartering new territory as parents. These are tough roads to navigate but even harder if we turn a blind eye. I’m no expert but I think we can’t deny the importance of talking to our kids and setting boundaries and limits. There’s no foolproof parenting plan – we have to hang on and enjoy the ride.

Contact Kim Hudson at tkhudson@comcast.net.

As your community newspaper, we are committed to making Salisbury a better place. You can help support our mission by making a voluntary contribution to the newspaper.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment