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“I think it's more than just being on their social media," a counselor says parents need to engage

Posted at 10:37 PM, Nov 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-01 22:37:27-04

FLORIDA — Teenagers are getting better at keeping their digital lives private, so it is getting harder to figure out what they are doing on their phones.

“It is a struggle in regards to monitoring what's going on with our children," Alise Bartley, Ph.D., said.

The director of FGCU's Community Counseling Center said it is nearly impossible to track all their activity on their phones. She said looking to spot stuff on their account only goes so far.

“I think it's more than just being on their social media; it's about making certain we're connected with our children, so that is as simple as making certain we have family dinners together or that we take the time to be certain that we're asking them how is their day," she said.

It seems a week doesn't go by without us hearing about some kind of school threat. Bartley said parents need to stay engaged with their teens.

“We are not doing enough to be engaged; does that mean we can follow everything that our kids are doing? Absolutely not," she said.

Bartley said this generation of teenagers spends an average of seven minutes in person with their parents.

She said creating new habits like dinner table rules.

“Make it a policy that everyone's cell phones will not be in the dining room or in the kitchen when we're eating together and have a basket that even the parents put their phone in the basket and they turn them off, so this is an opportunity for us to make a face to face contact," Bartley said.

When you are face-to-face, she said you must talk about cases that you wish weren't out there, like the alleged DeSoto County school threat that
landed a 13-year-old in jail.

“Let's talk about the consequences to posting this type of material because, once this is out there, it's out there forever, so this is something that isn't going to disappear," Bartley said.

School districts like the School District of Lee County are holding an overview of their threat evaluation and reporting tools. It will allow parents to see how they handle their violence prevention program.

If you want to sign up for the zoom webinars, click here.