The majority of parents understand that the internet is a valuable, yet dangerous place for teenagers. But because cyberspace wasn't around when we were growing up (wow, our parents had it easy!) it's often difficult for parents to know how to navigate what their teens are doing online, how to monitor it, how much to monitor it, and how to help their teens generally to make smart decisions on the internet. The good news is that there are several basic things parents can do to keep their teens safe online.
Much like we used pig latin when we were growing up, teens these days have a very specific text language they use in an effort to keep parents guessing. This slang involves numbers or symbols replacing certain letters in words, abbreviations and, most commonly, acronyms.
The pervasive availability of online pornography might just be the scariest of all the relevant sexual health topics we need to be discussing with youth. When discussing porn with our youth comes up in my sessions with parents they often look both terrified and relieved to finally be talking about it.
Our daughters are bombarded with images in the media of what’s hot and what’s not at younger and younger ages. Models are still unrealistically thin, reality TV is anything but real, and the fashion industry preys on little girls feeling pressure to be adult. It’s no wonder parents feel helpless in their struggle to combat these negative messages.