Vanessa Van Petten runs a website called RadicalParenting.com, written by teens for their parents. She has a slew of interns ages 13-19, and she recently asked them what they wished their parents understood about life online. She outlines them in this guest post over at NetFamilyNews.org, and I thought they were pretty interesting. You should click over to read the whole thing, but in summary, her interns made the point that, while technology is normal for their life and they expect to have access to it, they sometimes feel like they can’t get away from it — but they often think their parents overreact to the stories about meeting creeps online.
Pittsburgh teens, does this resemble your reality? Are cell phone bills and Facebook time major sources of fights between you and a parent? Do you think online sexual predators are a risk that is overblown? Of course, scary things do really happen. Do you think your parents trust you enough in your online habits?
The recent cover article for National Geographic about the “beautiful brains” of teenagers, by David Dobbs, argues that even though the brain continues to develop and grow its decision making centers until the mid-20s, teenagers are still responsible and can assess risk — possibly better than adults, who tend to over-assess the risks of certain actions.
There’s even a Risk-Taker Quiz so you can find out what your risk threshold is. (Unsurprisingly, it told me that I was “pretty timid”)
What would you consider the risks that are inherent with the parts of our lives that are stored online?
There are books about just this subject… just imagine what it would be like if your online life took a very wrong turn:
Insecure about the changes high school brings, Abby ignores advice from her parents and her only friend to “make an effort” and, instead, withdraws from everyone but with Luke, who she met online.
Chan Shealy, a sixteen-year-old baton-twirler and straight-A student, becomes involved with an internet predator, despite strict parental rules and her own beliefs that she knows how to keep herself safe online.
Tola Riley, a high school junior, struggles to tell the truth when she and her art teacher are accused of having an affair.
– Tessa, CLP – East Liberty