MySpace, Facebook, and other social networking sites have been making regular appearances in the headlines lately – but for parents who are concerned about the safety and security of their teens’ online activities, few recent reports are likely to have provided much comfort.
From cyber-bullying to the dissemination of sexually explicit messages to seemingly nonstop discussions of drug use, the world of online social networking sites as portrayed in the media can appear to be a virtual den of iniquity. Yet millions of people – from middle-schoolers to government officials and business leaders – use these sites on a daily basis for a variety of positive (or at least innocuous) reasons.
For parents – especially those whose children are already struggling with challenges such as Asperger’s Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD), or high-functioning autism – the challenge is figuring out which threats are real, and determining how they can ensure that their children’s online experiences are both safe and beneficial.
Thanks to Talisman Programs, one of the nation’s most respected providers of educational opportunities for special-needs children, help is at hand.
An Interactive Learning Opportunity
At Talisman, we are launching a series of interactive online seminars (or “webinars”) to help parents develop a greater understanding of the risks and benefits that special-needs children may experience in online social networking sites.
Parents who participate in one of our webinars will have the opportunity to learn from experts in the field, ask questions, and discuss topics such as the following:
Lurking about halfway between the winter holidays and summer vacation are two words that elicit divergent emotions among tingling-with-excitement teenagers and their apprehensive (if not downright fearful) parents: Spring Break.
While many older students envision a week or two of sun-drenched debauchery and their younger counterparts hope for a fortnight’s respite from anything resembling responsibility, parents are faced with the dilemma of managing both expectations and behaviors. Suffice it to say that the likelihood of conflict is considerable.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Though every parent of a teenager knows that an excess of free time isn’t such a good thing – especially when it comes to keeping your child away from drugs, alcohol, and other negative influences – the following tips can help increase the odds that your child’s spring break will be free of 4 a.m. phone calls or unexpected visits from local law enforcement personnel:
1. Establish Rules & Consequences - If your teenager is still in high school, he may be planning to do little more than sleep late and hang out with friends all day, while a college-age teen who comes home for the break may be expecting to have the same type of freedom that she enjoys in the dorm. Before either of these “dreams” have a chance to become reality, remember that as a parent, you have considerable influence over your teen’s actions<, and should exert that influence in as positive a manner as possible.
Let your kids know what you expect of them (regarding, for example, curfews, chores, and general behavior), and what consequences will result from their failure to comply. Then be sure that you stand behind what you’ve said.