Parents struggle when kids’ digital interactions turn negative

Bully Free Zonephoto © 2008 Eddie~S | more info (via: Wylio)

This morning the New York Times published a phenomenal article on the struggles of parents to

  1. keep up with their kids’ digital lives, and
  2. respond when children’s digital interactions turn negative.

There are no easy answers here, but the solution is not for us or our children to withdraw. Withdrawing doesn’t change the behavior; it just removes our ability to know about it. Instead, we must engage with our children and be actively involved in these interactions – not in a behind-their-back monitoring sense but in a caring, responsible adult sense – so that we can help them navigate these new interaction spaces in which we all now live.

I’m going to recommend this article to every parent I know (yes, it’s that good), and I suggest you do the same. I’m also going to have my 12-year-old daughter read it and then we’re going to talk about it. Check it out. This is important stuff.

3 Responses to “Parents struggle when kids’ digital interactions turn negative”

  1. I also read this article this morning and thought back to my own experience when bullying was face to face, by telephone, or written on paper in notes passed in class. It was also cruel, often sexually related and always about appearance and popularity.

    I remember one particularly nasty rumor that I heard about a girl in my class, and passed on when I must have been in 4th grade. I had believed it, been fascinated by it, but only much later really understood the true nastiness of it.

    What impressed me most was the way the mother of the girl to whom I passed the rumor confronted me. She took me aside, alone, and told me how she understood that girls my age liked to share such stories, but that her own daughter was younger (one year) and she didn’t want her to hear such stories at this time. Then she said, “You can look me in the eyes and you’ll see that I’m not angry with you. I just don’t want you to tell her stories like that.”

    The fact that I remember this exchange nearly 50 years later indicates how powerful it was for me and I still admire the woman for the way she handled this.

  2. Examples of blogs, wikispaces, and surveys done by students and staff with the goal of discussing and learning about cyberbullying.
    Great article for resource for our “Bring your child’s laptop to school Night”. Lots of real life examples of cyberbullying and how parents and students dealt with it.
    I agree a lot of the monitoring and education should be home based. Bringin parents up to par with the social networking is not the schools responsibility but… becoming partners with parents is always a win win situation.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this article. It took awhile to read, reread, and digest but was well worth it because it paints a very real portrait of the struggles of parents from both sides of the issue. I worry about my niece. Adolescents can be very cruel as educators all know. Educating students and having these very important conversations and ensuring they realize the damage is the way to progress. I loved the honesty of the one mother who eventually bought her daughter a puppy to drive home the point. I think the best way to help children understand about empathy and caring for others is to have them volunteer at an early age. My father was incredible in doing this and thought me compassion. I appreciate this lesson because he I’ve encountered other individuals who still struggle to have compassion for others. It is something that is modeled and practiced throughout life. December 17th is Anti-bullying Day and I plan on including these in my post for that day.

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