by Nancy Kislin, LCSW, MFT, Parent Educator
The parenting methods we are all too familiar with are quickly becoming obsolete in the face of a modern world. Today, parents face a new challenge that’s putting everything we thought we knew about parenting to the test—the Internet. The roles and responsibilities that once fell to our parents, grandparents, family friends, and even neighbors seem to have been taken over.
The Internet now decides what our children see and learn.
And quite frankly, I don’t think the Internet is doing a very good job.
Just take a look at recent headlines; “Teenagers Recorded a Drowning Man and Laughed” is the direct quote from several news sites including The New York Times. Attached to the articles is a disturbing video of teens watching a man, laughing and daunting him as he helplessly drowned. They did not call 911, but they did post the video footage on YouTube.
Police chief in Cocoa Beach, Florida, will be recommending criminal charges against the five boys, who range between 14 and 16 years old.
Like most people, the video left me enraged. Why is there such a breakdown in the moral character of so many teens nowadays?
As someone who spends just about every day working with kids and teens, there’s no denying that entitlement and disrespect are significantly more prevalent in today’s youth.
It’s time we ask ourselves an important question—who is raising our kids: us, or the Internet?
Parents, take the time to share this story with your kids. Set up a no technology time, whether it be during your morning drive to school or mealtime together, and talk to your kids and teens.
If we want our children— the future of our society— to have morals and values, we need to take back our roles as parents. We can all start by teaching them some of life’s most fundamental lessons.