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Go to C.A.M.P. Without Leaving the House

Sue is an author and Parent Advocate. She is also the founder of Parents' Universal Resource Experts, Inc.

School is out and summer is here.

With this newfound free time, teens and tweens are sure to be spending a lot more of the day (and night) on their devices. But before they become glued to a cell phone, TV, video game or computer, make sure you take a little time to set up some ground rules.

Speaking of time, you’re probably on a time crunch. Whether at work or simply busy taking care of home and kids, I made a cheat sheet to help you help your teens make it through their connected summer. All you need to remember is C.A.M.P.

C.  Cybersafety: Who, what and where?

  • Who are their friends online? Check out their virtual friends and ask them how they know them. 
  • What apps are your children using? Talk to them about the apps, the services they provide and lay down some rules for information sharing and in-app purchases. (Sharing too much could put them in a pickle and purchases they make inside the app could mean a hefty credit card bill for you.
  •  Where are your children surfing online? Exactly what social networking sites are they on? For younger children – do you have their passwords?  Have you discussed what is appropriate to post and what simply won’t fly?

A.  Anti-Bullying: Is your child a victim of a bully, or a bully themselves? (Also known as cyberbullying).

  • Know the warning signs of a victim being bullied and the warning signs if your child may be the bully themselves.
  • Talk to them about the importance of respect and encourage them to start an Anti-Bullying Group in your community.

M.  Meet and Mingle: Take it offline. Get out unplugged.

  • Plan a luncheon with your child's friends – have them choose the guests from their stream of friends on their favorite social network. Let's meet and mingle with them in person! Invite the parents too.
  • Find an activity that doesn't involve tech time such as biking, running, walking, hiking etc. Even if it is only a couple of hours, it will be time spent without the interruption of text messages and ding-a-lings of a phone.

P.  Proactive Parenting: Be an educated parent. 

  • You don't need a Computer Science degree to be involved in your child's online life! Isn't it time to BeCyberWise – where no grownup is left behind.
  • Stop making excuses and make time; you won't regret it. The only regrets you will have are the ones you will notice when you look at your child's social media sites and notice you are not part of their childhood lives.

I know there’s a lot here, so try to take C.A.M.P. in stride. But, if you can make it through the entire C.A.M.P this summer, I promise you’ll see lasting results for years to come.

Cover image courtesy of Flickr

Sue Scheff is an author and Parent Advocate. She founded Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, Inc in 2001. Her expertise is educating parents that are struggling with their out-of-control teenager and Internet safety for both kids and adults. In her book, Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen, (Health Communications, Inc), Sue Scheff journals her own difficulties with her teen, as well as offers prescriptive advice for parents at their wit’s end.

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