Sabine: PAW (parents are watching) social media


By Leigh Sabine | Our children are not ours to keep. They are just on loan to us. You hear people say this from time to time and I’m beginning to see the truth in the saying as my boys leap from one milestone to the next.

42 percent of teens say they can text blindfolded.

Tech Savvy Parenting – Brian Housman

00_sabineAs well-meaning, intentional parents, we try our level best to raise boys to upstanding men, girls to strong young women. At a certain point in our child’s maturity (and it’s important to note that the arrival of this point varies from child to child), our child is ready to begin to step out of our orbit — to take what we have carefully taught them as right and true and apply it to the real world. Nowadays, that child will be walking away from us with a cell phone gripped tightly in their hand.

Enter the multifaceted, ever changing world of technology. We’ve come a long way since that first email was sent in 1971. Every imaginable tool of our new tech world fits nicely into the compact cell phone that our children now cradle in the palm of their hand. Are you really ready to hand them the world? Can your child handle this fully-loaded Lamborghini before they’ve even earned their driver’s permit?

Average number of texts sent by a teen each month: 3,339.

Tech Savvy Parenting – Brian Housman

I recently attended a community talk on social media and it’s affects on our children. It was both enlightening and frightening. A panel of experts that included a police officer, a popular blogger, a tech guru, and a child counselor, had a firm grasp on all aspects of our digital world and the possible pitfalls that arise from the wrong click of a button, a picture sent that lands in the hands of a stranger, the danger wrapped in a seemingly innocent hashtag.

There are more than 7.5 million underage (13 and younger) children in America on Facebook. Only 53% of parents are aware that Facebook has a minimum age requirement.

Tech Savvy Parenting – Brian Housman

For what it’s worth, here are a few things I have learned through the aforementioned community session and through further research about our children and social media. It seems too valuable not to share…

Know your child’s passwords and consider that a periodic check of your child’s phone use could be part of the contract you have with your child regarding their phone/computer.  The master bedroom is a perfect spot for a family docking station. This helps to instill unplugged family time and protects a child’s normal sleep patterns and nighttime routines.

Children model parents’ behavior. Never look at your phone while you’re talking to your child or your child is talking to you. Never bring your phone to the dinner table. Put your phone away while driving your car — children in the back seat can’t differentiate between scrolling through your phone for email, text or directions and none of it matters while the car is in motion.

Keepin’ it movin’. Popular social media sites are ever changing. Just when you think you have a handle on an app, a new one comes along. Some of the most popular are Tumblr, Vine, Twitter, kik messenger, Instagram, Omegle, Whisper, Snapchat and Tinder. Take the time to check these apps out and quiz a teen for inside intel on how the apps work. For example, what’s a “power swipe”? Ask the right teen and they’ll tell you. Choose a few apps to try firsthand to better understand the positive and negative aspects that could wind up on your child’s phone or computer.

Forearmed is forewarned. Read a book on the subject. Tech Savvy Parenting by Brian Housman is great. Some of my favorite websites for more information on the subject are, and

Refer to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule provided by the Federal Trade Commission that seeks to protect children under the age of 13. Check the link here.

On the lighter side, I’ll leave you with a bit more food for thought. HTH (hope this helps).


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