Sound normal? Probably. But when your kid suddenly regards the opposite sex as “hot” and not “ewww, he has cooties,” your inner parental alarm bell starts ringing.
So what to do? Experts say keep open lines of communication. But communication nowadays is so much more than talking. It’s texting; it’s Facebook; it’s Tumblr. And yes, you have to keep on top of it all. And that’s when I became a “tech-copter” parent. To be clear, this is completely different from being labeled the dreaded “helicopter” parent. While helicopter parents are known for their “over-bearing, over-parenting,” tech-coptering is my own definition of judiciously staying on top of your kids’ tech activity.
Yes, you can limit computer screen time, X-Box and Kinect-ing. But once you get your tween a phone, it’s a different ball game altogether. They enter the silent world of texting. All you see is thumbs flying and the odd squeal of delight when a friend request is accepted.
Add to that a Facebook account (no, you cannot keep them off of it forever) and Tumblr pages—a popular micro-blogging platform that allows for creative self-expression—and you need to develop a techno-dialogue with your tween.