Be On the Lookout

Monitoring Your Teen

To monitor or not – that is the question. Parents worry that they are invading their children’s privacy and are snooping. Most parenting experts agree that monitoring your child is one of the most important responsibilities that parents have, especially parents of teens. Here are five tested and true ways to monitor your teen and let him know that you care about him at the same time.

  1. Know where your teen is at all times – both physically and virtually. Keep track of your child’s internet use by using web browser tools and software designed to block certain sites. Make sure that he/she knows you are asking out of love and the need to protect, not because of a lack of trust.
  2. Get to know your kids’ friends – both online and off. And, while you are at it, get to know your child’s friends parents too. Get together with the parents to discuss your children and any recent incidents related to alcohol or drugs in your community.
  3. Find out how your teen plans to spend her day. Looking for something to talk about at dinner tonight? This is a great conversation starter. “So…what’s going on tomorrow? Any plans?”
  4. Limit the time your child spends without adult supervision. The after school hours of 3 to 6 pm are the most dangerous time for kids to be on their own. Greater peer pressure or boredom can lead to after school alcohol or drug use. If you or another adult you trust can’t be home for your teen, find out about after school programs she can get involved with. Limit the time your teen spends online every night, too. Periodically check in on what he or she is looking at online.
  5. Learn the technology your teen is using…and use it too. Text message, email, instant message and social networking sites are all great ways to check in with your teens to find out where they are, who they’re with and what they’re up to.

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