When my child was an infant, the countless
sleepless nights exhausted me. Keeping up with the endless motion
of a toddler wore me out. And the birthday party circuit of
elementary school sucked a lot of time and energy.
Now that my child is a tween, I'm finding that new
challenges exhaust me. Chief among them is keeping up with all the
website and social media options available to tweens and teens
The number of ways that they can communicate with
others, who they may or may not know and who may or may not be
kind, good, law-abiding citizens, is mind-boggling. A lot of these
platforms can be scary. What scares me most of all, though, are the
parents who don't even try to learn about them, or who try but give
up too easily.
When our kids are little, parents do not turn on
the television and plop them in front of it with the thought, "I
have no idea what station this is on or what this show is about and
it may be wildly inappropriate but, eh, whatever, they can handle
And parents should not do the equivalent of that by
turning their kids loose in the digital world without supervision
Parents need to know where their kids are going
Facebook is no longer cool, in large part because
that's where their parents are. You didn't really think they'd make
it easy on us by flocking to a site we understand and use, did
Twitter and Instagram are more popular.
But it's Ask.fm, Vine, Voxer and Kik where tweens
and teens are flocking lately. And a lot of parents have never
heard of any of them.
Ask.fm is a site where people can ask questions
anonymously. Officials believe it has played a part in several
tween and teen suicides and that led British Prime Minister David
Cameron to call for a boycott of the Latvian-based site, saying it
Vine is a video sharing site. Voxer is a
walkie-talkie app for phones and Kik is a free texting
Yes, trying to stay on top of the
ever-changing social media landscape takes a lot of time and a lot
of work. No one thinks to themselves that during their free
time they would absolutely love to play around on those sites. Nor
do they think about using that time to research and install online
activity monitoring software on the family computer, or scroll
through the mind numbing texts on their phones.
It's exhausting to do that.
It's also necessary to keep our kids
Although she’d like to be taller and have more time to dive into good books, Shannan is awfully happy with her life in the western suburbs, where she moved after a decade of living on the north side of the city. She blogs about parenting a tween at Tween Us on ChicagoNow and at Families in the Loop.
See more of Shannan 's stories here.
What to do with your weekend, delivered every Thursday.
Great deals and chances to win prizes, delivered every Monday.
Exclusive offers from our partners,usually delivered twice a week.
Resources for parents of children with special needs,delivered the second Tuesday each month.