Raising Kids in Era of Social Media: Balancing Permission and Prudence

By January 27, 2016Formation, social media

This is part of the Raising Kids in the Era of Social Media series. The main event is Friday January 29th at 7Pm at St. Mark’s in Basking Ridge, NJ, and is free and open to the public. Click here to register. We seek to gather together people of faith to share our collective wisdom about parenting today.

A huge part of my parenting philosophy is to give my kids the permission and the freedom to do their thing. I want them to know what it’s like to succeed and win, but also to take a wrong turn and fail. I think this is critical in their development as independent people.

I can’t be their training wheels forever.

But, when it comes to all the creepy and dangerous things out there on the Interwebs, the stakes are high. So, how do we find that balance between giving permission and being prudent? When do we swoop in, and when do we let it go?

To be honest, I don’t have a perfect track record here. We gave one of our kids an iPad a while back, and I was very careful to look at every app she downloaded, and I intentionally did not give her the password to download more when I wasn’t around.

I thought I had it covered. I thought I could let her loose to play Flappy Bird and Solitaire.

But, she had a web browser. With Google. And I hadn’t even thought to turn on “safe search.” She searched for something innocent, and the results Google sent back were anything but innocent.

When I saw the seedy sites in her browsing history… I. Flipped. Out.

But, it wasn’t her fault. It was mine. I obviously hadn’t done what I needed to do to protect her, or prepare her for the vile underbelly of the Internet.

So, I’m still struggling with this one.

Finding balance between permission and prudence with kids is a moving target. As they age they’ll need more of one and less of another. It takes constant attention, the ability to course correct, and the realization that sometimes you’re going to blow it.

How do you seek that balance? Do you have any successes or failures your willing to share?