Online Lives Independent from Reality?

13 10 2010

Kim Painter from USA Today frightens me.

Her health and wellness column usually centers around the aspects of family-hood that we all encounter as our brood grows, develops, and brances out.  However, her article entitled “How closely should parents monitor teens online?” advocates a system of checking-up that most tweens, teens, and young adults would declare ‘an invasion.’

Painter says that when her son, now 16, joined Facebook three years ago she laid down rules that included knowing his account password.  Painter checked her son’s activity every few days, but as of late it is less often.

Painter discusses how parents can be “too hot or too cold” with their online involvement. Parents in the “too hot” category are “overly involved voyeurs who read and comment upon every flirtatious text and silly status update;” while the “too cold” guardians “pay no attention, even when there are signs of trouble.” 

Kim Painter goes on to state that In an ideal world, parents set rules and engage their children in an open, trusting dialog about texting, posting, surfing and searching” but if that hasn’t occurred or has been ineffective in shaping appropriate online behavior, it is advisable to employ tracking software.

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I have always found it annerving that some parents take it upon themselves to snoop through their child or children’s online social profiles or chat histories. 

If you do not have the relationship where your kids would come to you with problems or share significant events in their lives, then you have more to focus on than whats in their browsers.

In my experience, most teens/young adults are not SO drastically different in life as they are online. I feel as though people may exaggerate their attributes to seem ‘cooler’ or more attractive, but who has the energy to create and maintain an entirely ficticious persona?  Most teenagers are too self-involved to go to that trouble.

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