Keeping Teens Safe by Empowering Them to Learn to Manage Risk

We’re all guilty of it. Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs because we need to keep our kids safe. Sure, there’s part of us that knows that our child is no longer our baby. We’ve raised strong, independent and intelligent (at least most of the time) young adults. BUT, we still want to protect them. It’s in our nature.

We know that the online world is a scary place, full of trolls, sex traffickers, and bullies. Some of us are tempted to install monitoring software on their devices. Other parents may manually go through their teen’s devices and look at texts, private messages and websites browsed. But at what point, do we stop eavesdropping and start trusting our teen?

If our response is that we can't trust our teen, then maybe it means that we need to do a better job educating our teen. Teach them how to manage risk and the importance of it.

Here’s a great article by NPR on teaching kids to manage risk.

"As adults, we need to start being more creative rather than trying to put 'governors' on teens' phones to prevent unwanted behaviors," says Pamela Wisniewski, a former postdoctoral scholar in information sciences and technology at Penn State. "If we want to help protect teens from online risks, we have to stop assuming that they are the perpetrators and treat them like partners."

We all know that at one point, we’re going to have to let go. When we let them go, let’s make sure they are educated and able to make wise decisions when it comes to their online (as well as offline) behavior.

The LoveEd Movement provides outreach and education for older teens and millennials on the dangers they face on and off-line as well as viable solutions for helping older teens and millennials make healthy relationship choices.

Please check out our Compassionate Dialogues Curriculum for teachers and school personnel to use with pre-teens, teens and millennials who are experiencing distress, depression, or are suicidal or homicidal.