There was a time when the most dreadful conversation a parent could imagine was the sex talk. What innocent times those must have been. Now, I’m not suggesting that it is an easy subject to broach but, in light of the unthinkable travails in this current age, that one seems rather pedestrian by comparison. Here are a few examples of conversations you were probably hoping to never have with your child, but some day, will probably have to:
Even if the drug problem is not in the immediate family, chances are, your kids are exposed to someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. At some point, you, as a concerned parent, are going to have to shield your child from that person in some way. But parents are not superheroes. And parent shields are not impregnable. Besides that, even if you could shield your child from the problems of one person, drugs and addiction are all around, and could be suffered by a number of people in your life. Even the best shield will simply not hold.
You may eventually have to explain why Uncle Joe can’t come around anymore. The conversation gets more involved when the addict is a sibling or parent. What you need are resources that will help you better understand, and best communicate the situation in age appropriate ways to the people who need to know.
Children are also more susceptible to drug addiction than ever before. 25% of people who use any addictive substance before age 18 become addicted. The drug addiction talk is one you can’t afford to put off.
If you thought you didn’t know much about the topic of sex that was suitable for prepubescent consumption, you probably feel even more out to sea regarding the topic of Internet safety. After all, everything you know about the Internet, you probably learned from your kid.
Making matters worse, most of what you know about kid safety in the real world doesn’t apply in the virtual one. Looking both ways before crossing the Internet superhighway makes no sense whatsoever. Don’t talk to strangers, is a lot like saying, don’t use the Internet. The whole point of social networks is to talk to people you only marginally know. Twitter is nothing but balking to strangers. Facebook is reconnecting with long, lost acquaintances.
Even when you think you are talking to people you know, you may not be. Social network accounts are hacked all the time. When it comes to Internet Safety, we are going to have to develop a whole new vernacular. Mashable offers some helpful tips including:
1. Understand Internet Safety Before You Explain It
2. Teach, Don’t Rule
3. Consider Age-Appropriate Social Networks
4. Monitor With Care
Privacy, and the Danger of Oversharing
You probably grew up with privacy as a given. The older you got, the more of it you earned. At some point, you got your own room, not one shared with a sibling. Your parents would knock before entering. You perhaps had a diary that was for your eyes only, no matter what you put in there. Mutual respect, and a good lock, made it for your eyes only. No one had to explain the importance of privacy to you.
Your kids are polar opposites. They are growing up in a time when no one respects or expects privacy. The government wants to see everything you are doing on your phone. On Android, the whole point is to make it as easy as possible for Google and their advertising partners to gain as much access to your information as possible. It is the price of all those “free” services. Facebook and Flicker own your photos. Private moments are stolen and shared with the world.
Kids have given up on even trying to keep anything private online. They have no sense that what they overshare today, might adversely effect their tomorrow. It is up to you to make sure that does not happen.
Privacy, Internet safety, and drug addiction probably make you long for the days when the birds and the bees was the most awkward conversation on your calendar.