What an incredible blessing and opportunity it is to have the entire world at our fingertips and in our pockets at any given moment. We can search for answers to urgent questions, learn more about something that interests us, connect with those we love, and access unlimited resources from around the globe. If our great-great-grandparents could see us now, translating from language to language in just a click or seeing the face of a relative who is thousands of miles away they would be shocked. It is truly amazing what we can do with a little rectangle in our pocket. But of course that rectangle is also incredibly dangerous, especially for those with still-forming self-control.
Teens are always quick to the trends, and the technology of smart phones is no exception. Your teen is probably already well versed in forms of technology on their smart phone that you have yet to even encounter. It’s normal, but it’s also something you can’t ignore or assume to be harmless. Our world is increasingly visual and accessible, which can be so dangerous for your boy. How can you be aware of what’s “out there” and protect your son? Awareness is the first step.
3 Dangers Lurking in His Pocket
- Pornography. It’s the big one, and you’ve hopefully already accepted the reality. It is absolutely critical that parents recognize the reality and harm of pornography, rather than assuming “Oh my son wouldn’t do that.” or “My boy isn’t interested yet… he’s still too young.” It’s right at his fingertips the second he becomes curious, so a forthright discussion about what pornography is and what it can do to your teen son is absolutely necessary, as soon as possible.
- Cyber Bullying. For a long time bullying was depicted as the big, mean boy on the playground. It’s since taken a turn to focus on girls and catty relationships. Unfortunately now we are turning our eyes to smart phones and the web. Cyber bullying is very real and happening all around your teen, even if they aren’t involved. They may engage in cyber bullying (the anonymity or removed nature of the web can cause even the least likely teen to engage in bullying), be the target of cyber bullying without your awareness, or at the very least they are seeing it happen on the web around them. Talk to your teen about cyber bullying and set expectations for how you hope they will react with others online.
- Sexting. Sending graphic or explicit texts and photos is prevalent among teens, regardless of their relationship status. Whether your son has a girlfriend or even seems interested in girls yet, you will need to frankly define and discuss what sexting is and how dangerous (and illegal) it can be. Create rules about how online and texting communication is to be used, and regularly monitor their phones and accounts to be sure they are protected.
The conversations may be awkward. You may discover things that shock and hurt you. But it is vital that you protect your teen boy from the dangers of the visual technology world right in his pocket. If your teen boy has already fallen prey to bad habits or harmful phone use, you can get help or permanent solutions from a residential treatment facility and therapy that can help him mature into a healthy, happy adult. It’s never to late to protect your teen from the dangers of technology.