Text, Tweets, and Teens: TMI?

By: Leslie Barrett Email
By: Leslie Barrett Email

This generation of teens have many options of technology to choose from when it comes to getting in touch with their friends and families. Many teens send text messages and talk via social networking sites but some psychologists want to make sure parents are watching what messages their teens are sending.

In a recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project nearly two in five teens send text messages every day but this doesn't mean many still don't call.

The study found more than one third of teens are still making calls from their cell phones daily and more than 30% of teens said they also use landlines each day.

Social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter have also popped up for teens to use.

Some psychologists are concerned about possible negative outcomes if parents are not checking their children's use of these web sites and cell phones. Some psychologists told us sexting which is sending sexually explicit messages or photos via cell phone, cyber bullying, and some students hiding behind this technology to avoid face-to-face communication are realities parents need to be looking for.

Psychologist Amy Louden recommended from what other parents have told her, that parents need to have an open conversation with their children that they can text and use these web sites only if the parents have open access to them at all times. Louden said checking these sites and cell phones frequently is key. Also she said if a teen is texting or using the web site excessively, than there is a problem and parents need to take action and set limits.

Other tips from psychologist Holly Yoke are to keep your computer in an open space, check the history of web sites visited, and familiarize yourself with this technology.

For more information on "sexting" and how to deal with it if you, a teen, or someone you know is doing this or is receiving these messages, log on to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children's (NCMEC) web site www.missingkids.com.

The NCMEC recommends the following resources for parents.

-Safety tips for cell phone use can be found at www.NetSmartz411.org

-Parents can locate an Internet Crimes Against Children Task
Force in their area at www.icactraining.org

-Suspected child sexual exploitation can be reported at www.cybertipline.com

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