Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders Answering the Top Questions From Today’s Parents, Part 1

Answering the Top Questions From Today’s Parents, Part 1

7. How do you control the use of video chatting/sexting?

That’s a broad question…maybe even two questions.

I think realistic guardrails, like no phones/computer in the bedrooms really help with this. Sexting isn’t something they typically do sitting on the couch next to Mom. But we also need to teach them discernment for the times we aren’t sitting next to them. We need to help them become aware of many of the precautions when chatting with others—principles like “never chat with someone you haven’t met face to face,” “never post your location,” etc. I talk a little about some of these risks in my recent article IS SNAPCHAT AND SNAPMAPS SAFE?

But sexting is also a huge concern today. Almost every school experiences it; and even if your kids aren’t doing it, many of their friends are. It’s something we need to dialogue with our kids about.

For Further Reading: The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, Chapter 10: Know the App Before You Snap, Chapter 18: I See London I See France…Why are you showing your underpants?

8. What advice would you offer to a teacher who notices students listening to either music videos (like those top 10 videos you showed at the workshop) or those equally destructive? Do you recommend engaging with the parents, students or both?

I think teachers, coaches and youth workers should talk directly with the students about the kind of content they’re digesting, and bring parents into the picture if you see them doing something that is harming themselves or others. I know that’s vague (because these music videos are probably “harmful”), but in a world where most parents simply don’t care about this kind of content, telling a mom that their daughter is listening to Nicki Minaj probably isn’t even worth it. In fact, many parents might get on the defensive about it— thinking you’re judging them or blaming them for being a bad parent.

I’m a huge advocate of communication with parents, but more for encouragement than being a narc. I’d save “telling” on a kid for something that really hurts them or others.

9. Our children are in college now. What are some approaches we can/should be taking now? Is it too late?

All three of my kids are college age and out of the house…and this is far from over.

BONDING and BOUNDARIES are both vitally important parenting practices (something I dialogue about in detail in session one of the YouTube videos we provide as a free seven-week curriculum on our website). When our kids leave, our main connection with them will be BONDING, and we should really focus on that. After all, BONDING conversations are where values are passed on. Trying to “ground” your 22-year-old isn’t typically very effective. But conversations can be life changing. So look for opportunities to connect, eat, laugh and talk. Ask lots of questions with genuine interest and avoid lecturing. If you love them, they’ll ask YOU questions and advice.

10. Can people other than friends on SnapChat or Instagram see posts?

Nope. Only friends. This is why it’s so important to remind our kids that they should be careful who they friend and know each of their online “friends” face to face. That 18-year-old kid they met online who supposedly lives in Huntington Beach might just be a 46-year-old pedophile living in his mother’s basement in Cleveland.

For Further Reading: The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile DevicesChapter 10: Peek at Your Privacy Settings…so you know who’s peeking at you

Jonathan McKee is the president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed KidSex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller – The Guy’s Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By TeenagersConnect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife, Lori, and their three kids live in California.

This article originally appeared here.