Sunday, February 20, 2011

Our Children & Texting

Almost everyone does it, including our children. My youngest could send a text message by the age of 6.  I  would walk in a room and find her sitting there with my phone sending out text messages to my contacts in my phone. Texting and cell phones has posed a new parenting challenge for parents. Cell phones are great for children to have. They can make keeping track of your child much easier. Also, cell phones make it easier for a child to communicate with their parents anytime and anywhere. My children have cell phones, I won't let them leave the house without their phone. But, along with the convenience of your child having a cell phone comes the problem of parents having a harder time to keep up with what their child is doing. Texting lingo can be very confusing. Preteens and teens have developed a texting lingo to quickly text their friends and abbreviations for words they don't want their parents to understand. Which can pose a problem for parents. Some parents feel it is snooping if they check their child's phone. Would you rather have your child safe or to make sure you are respecting their privacy 100%. I don't check my child's phone on a regular basis. But, I will check their phones from time to time. Especially, if I feel they are hanging out with someone they maybe shouldn't be hanging out with. Texting also makes it easier for predators to chat with a child or teen and disguise their age or identity. I believe in partial privacy of children. They have their privacy until they give me a reason not to respect their privacy. Too much privacy can keep a parent in the dark and that is the last thing we want as parents. If my child is in danger, I want to know about it.
There are resources out there for parents to help them stay on top of the texting lingo children are using. The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children is an excellent resource for parents. Not just in the case of an emergency. The website has excellent resources and pamphlets for parents on child safety. The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children offer a Communication Package that you can download online for free once you register with their site or you can have the pamphlets mailed to you free of charge for the first 50. A insert is included in the package to help parents understand what the abbreviations our children are using stand for. Their website also offers other great resources for parents and educators on child safety.

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