Jeff Adorador, director of the Crisis Resolution Center in Loomis, helps families and parents in crisis with youth establish communication that is respectful. According to Adorador, there is a lot of drama in the social network and teenagers can be a handful. “Teens are socially evolving…and they can be off the hook, disconnected, cruel and distant. And parent can easily be caught up in the drama.”
Governing the home in the network culture is uncharted territory, and the parenting strategies of previous generations will not work well in the network culture that essentially flattens hierarchies of formal authority (in titles like president, teacher and parent). One of the things that Adorador cautions against is authoritarian style of parenting, which assumes all the control belongs to the parent.
In a free society that is the American republic, we have a model of supreme authority that is the cornerstone for a culture of respect for the individual, and thereby parenting to empower children as liberated, responsible individuals is possible. Referred to as civil liberty, it is the mustard seeds of faith that God is sovereign over the life of an individual, who grants individuals free will; and so the people collectively give up limited power to government in order to protect this civil liberty.
So why not govern your cyber-powered home like a civics lesson and encourage your teen to recognize their authority (or power) to be cyber-safe?
The aim of your house rules should be freedom from manipulation.
Freedom from the lies and untruth (i.e., you are invisible unless you are on Facebook, or freedom means “no limits”), and the risks of bad actors including bullies, pedophiles and identity thieves. Freedom from being starved for genuine, human attention. Freedom from being held accountable with shame, rather than mercy with an expectation to learn and change your ways.
Declare your home to be a mini-republic wherein every individual matters, every voice may be heard, and every person is accountable for their actions with consequences that are instructive.
List your house rules and identify the benefit to the child. Be honest. Below are some cyber-safe house rules fundamentals – that can serve as criteria to create a simple, short set of rules that rely upon your child’s God-given ability to think for themselves in the network.
- Consider Internet access and smart phones as a rite of passage – not a right
- No secrets, no surprises. Transparency mandatory.
- Explain why the rule exits and how they benefit individuals and the family
- Regulate schedule and access to cyber tools (mobile phones and Internet)
- Unplug phones at a designated time in the evening
- Only hit “send” if your mother could read it and be proud
- Establish and enforce consequences for rules violations.
For more about training to create a family culture that promotes a peaceful, orderly home amidst the chaos of the network, go to Fresh Start.
- Banana Moments: Help for Parenting in the Network Culture
- The Authority In Me (reclaiming parental authority in the social network)
- Crisis Resolution Center
- Fresh Start Family Culture Builder for Household Executives
- CyberParenting Topics on The Fish 103.9FM Tuesdays
- Follow Joanna @CyberParenting
- Like Banana Moments
- Sign up to receive Banana Moments quarterly and monthly updates