Use Technology to Keep Teens Safe When Out & About! Here's the Secret! by Christine Jones
I recently found myself on the TODAY Parenting website and there were a number of articles regarding kids and technology. Almost all of the articles focused on managing kids screen time, experiments with unplugging and tips for helping kids lead a healthy digital life. Most of the articles came from a point of frustration, which trust me, as a mom to a 7- and 10-year-old I can totally understand! I cannot get them off Madden Mobile and Minecraft videos! But I also realized that my having a 15-year-old son that is now going out to parties and with kids from other schools, put me in a different place than parents with just younger kids. While I'm still battling with my younger two, I am over the moon that my teen is addicted to his cellphone. You see there are two apps that my husband and I rely on every weekend when he's out and about to give us some peace of mind:
- Find Friends: As part of the deal with letting him go out with friends and to parties, we've said that he must share his location with us on his phone. Now when I tap on Find Friends on my phone, his precise location shows up on my phone's map. His location automatically refreshes as he moves to another location. So there's no telling me that he's at one place and then actually going to another.
- Facetime: Our other agreement is that twice during the night we reserve the right to Facetime him. By doing this, we are able to make sure that he's in good shape and is not under any influence. Much to our surprise he has welcomed this arrangement. An unexpected silver lining according to him, is that it's given him an excuse to turn down a drink when offered because he can simply say, my parents Facetime me throughout the night.
I'm sure that this is not going to be foolproof, but at the moment, I'm relishing that technology has afforded us this little bit of monitoring capability, especially during these early high school years!
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