Taming The Tech Tiger

by Lucie Hemmen on December 18, 2011

You were prepared for the sleep deprivation, teething, and the terrible twos of your daughter’s early years. You were both challenged and charmed by the poignant transitions of her elementary school years. You did your best ushering her through the ups and downs of her middle school years. But somewhere in the mix, an unexpected aspect of her development announced itself earlier than expected. It sounded something like this: “Mom, Dad, I want a cell phone. I neeeed a cell phone!”

You May Be Noticing:

• Her phone seems to be surgically implanted into her hand. When it’s not in her hand, it’s (please, not again) LOST!

• She appears to have Olympic capabilities in texting. (You suspect a Darwinian adaptation has facilitated mind-blowing leaps in thumb dexterity.)

• Your scant alone time with her is regularly corrupted by a third party: her phone.

• She checks her social networking site like a new mother checks her baby’s breathing—with a certain primitive desperation.

Technology may have entered your daughter’s life with walkie-talkies or a karaoke machine. But soon came big-ticket tech items such as the MP3 player, the cell phone, and maybe even a laptop computer. Interactive video games became so brilliant, some of your daughter’s gifts felt like presents for the whole family. While you may dabble in a little virtual tennis, let’s face it: your daughter’s tech savvy smashes yours right out of the court. Indeed, you received no warning nor were you prepared for the speedy technological developments she masters effortlessly.

With enormous appetites for fast communication, information, and entertainment, teen girls present brand-new challenges for unprepared parents. Here’s what some parents say about their tech-savvy teens:

• Is it even healthy for girls to be communicating as much as they do? When I was my daughter’s age, I came home and got a break! Between texting, IMing and Facebook, my daughter is constantly communicating.

• My daughter’s mood can drop like a rock after being on Facebook. Then I have to deal with an upset kid who just found something out she didn’t need to know in the first place.

• I heard my daughter and her friend laughing one evening and assumed they were watching a movie. I found out they were on some site that allowed them to video chat with complete strangers! They had no idea why I hit the roof.

In Chapter 8 of Parenting Teen Girls, I take on each Tech Tiger one at a time.  Lori Getz, founder of Cyber Education Consultants gave me great guidance in order to cover the most important safety concerns for the chapter.  But you don’t have to wait for my book because I asked Lori to guest blog for us and she’s agreed!  I’ll be posting something from Lori soon!

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