Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Christian author: Most parents clueless about teens' high-tech gadgets

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Parents, you don't need to give your child every high-tech gadget that comes along, and you don't have to allow them "privacy" on the gadgets that you do give them. Children have no "right" to privacy when you are responsible for their actions.

The founder of a ministry stressing biblical values for teens states that most parents are overwhelmed by the digital world their teenagers live in.

In her latest book, Logged On and Tuned Out, Vicki Courtney highlights the basics, as well as the warnings, of instant messaging, text messaging, social networking sites, chat rooms, and photo and video posting. She says most of the technology is not a fad or a phase, but will continue to be a part of life. With this in mind, she encourages parents to be informed and pro-active when it comes to the new technology.

Courtney also encourages Christian parents to give their children tools and guidelines for the high-tech gadgets. "We can't stand on their shoulder 24/7, but we should be able to guide them along the way so that, little by little, they're learning to make good and wise choices -- choices that would be pleasing to God ...," she says. "[M]y goal in writing the book was not to make mom and dad an expert but, again, to catch them up to speed and to give them some necessary talking points with their kids."

Courtney says parents who are believers are to help their children prepare to live in the world without becoming of the world. She states that guiding children to make the right decisions now, concerning these new technologies, could help later in life should some of these children seek public office or enter into the ministry. Many teens, she points out, simply do not realize that what is posted online -- such as embarrassing or libelous content -- can affect them years later.

They also don't always realize that it can affect them forever.

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