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The Disconnect of Adolescent Cyber Relationships

F. Sia Turay, Special to The Informer | 12/11/2013, 2 p.m.

“I know you have a lot of things you want to do. What ideas do you have for how you can fit everything in? If you can’t fit everything, what’s most important to you?” Work together to determine what kind of support she wants from you. Would it be helpful for you to set a timer so she stops gaming at a certain time? Should her cell phone be charged in your room at night so texts don’t wake her up? Work on that plan together.

“It seems like you’d like to make these decisions on your own. I want to make sure you’re safe. How can we give you some freedom and me some peace of mind?” Brainstorm with her how she can show you that she is ready for more responsibility–and agree on how you will handle it if something happens that demonstrates that she isn’t ready for it yet.

“Have you ever seen someone post something that backfired? Will you tell me about that? How do you think she should have handled it?” Talking about topics like this with relation to other people can help make it easier for teens to ask questions and share information.

“When you post online, remember that everyone can see it— even the person you’re dating, and your teachers, and grandma.” Talk about the fact that, once they’re up, it’s hard to take images down. Encourage them to use the “do I want grandma to see this?” test before posting online.