Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Parent to Parent: Technology
Parents, do you feel left out when your kids start talking about technology? Well, this is the electronics generation. But, when it comes to what your kids do on their computers and cellphones, how much should parents pry? Dr. Valerie has some advice in tonight's Parent to Parent.
WSVN -- They may look cryptic, like ancient hieroglyphics, but this is the way kids like Adriana and Aaron Contreras talk to each other these days.
Adriana Contreras: "I use it. Like, it's all I ever do. You can, like, ask anyone my age -- that's their life. Text messaging, instant messaging, MySpace."
In fact, Adriana text messages so much that she went nearly 700 messages over her plan last month. Dad and mom just don't get it.
Maurice Contreras: "Instead of picking up a phone and calling a friend, they would prefer to text message. I don't understand it. It seems like it takes longer."
Text messaging is so popular among teens that, just this year, a major cellphone provider reported more then 10 billion text messages sent on its network. But, parents, if you have no idea how to text or i.m., you might be missing crucial communication with your children.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "This is just the same as when we were kids, and we talked all night on the phone. They may instant message all night long."
That's why 7 News' parenting expert Dr. Valerie Goode says parents should keep up with the latest technology.
If your child has an account like MySpace, know how to get into their profile. You should also learn how to text.
Cellphone companies, like Cingular Wireless, even offer parents step-by-step instructions on how to send a message.
Kelly Starling: "It's very easy. In the tutorial, we show the simple steps that are needed to text message. We list some of the most popular text messaging lingo."
For example, "C U L8R" means "see you later," and "BTWTU" is "by the way, thank you."
Once you've got the know-how, make sure you supervise your child or monitor what they're doing. There are special programs that allow you to do that. Also, make sure to set time limits.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "You want to know what your child is doing. You don't just leave them to go sit on a computer for five hours at a time. That's just not healthy for any child."
Teach your child not to talk to or meet face-to-face with strangers they've chatted with on the internet. One easy way of preventing that is keeping electronics out of the bedroom. The Contreras' have moved their computer to a central location.
This tech-saavy family knows that, and the cellphone will be with them for many years to come -- or at least until the next high tech gadget.
Maurice Contreras: "It's the way; it's what they love to do."
Adriana Contreras: "It's just become an addiction because it's a new technology to kids all over the world."
If your child gets off the computer really upset, Dr. Valerie says to ask them why. They may have had a fight with their friend via the internet.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
CINGULAR WIRELESS TEXT MESSAGE PARENT TUTORIAL
IF YOU HAVE A CONCERN DR. VALERIE CAN HELP YOU WITH, E-MAIL US AT:
Dr. Valerie Goode
7711 SW 62 Ave.
Miami, FL 33143