I had not planned on writing about this as a part of my Let Kids be Kids series but I read this article yesterday and it brought tears to my eyes. It is about two girls in Minnesota that had a sleepover and decided to commit suicide. While they do not really know the reason they suspect cyberbullying.
This is so tragic and heart wrenching. My thoughts and love go out to these families.
Reading this, however, also brought up a discussion that many of us as parents should probably think about.
Kids these days are subjected to endless modes of communication if you think about it. Cell phones, Ipods, Xbox 360 and PS3 if you connect for online gaming, laptop computers, social media websites such as Facebook and Gaia. Our children do not have the alone time that we used to have. We could go home and disengage from teenage drama if we wanted. We could do our homework without being interrupted by constant text messages.
It makes sense, to me atleast, that maybe as parents we need to discuss with out children how to handle this. As adults we do not really get a break. We work all day, come home and do laundry and help the kids with homework, fix dinner, get them ready for the next day while answering phone calls and emails because we have this need to have everything immediately. Are children really prepared to cope with this?
Just so you know, I am writing this with a teenage girl in mind. Girls can be so vicious in teen and pre-teen years. They are hounded at school all day and then come home with the conversation continuing everywhere they go whether it be positive or negative. Online, cell phone, ipod… Then they get depressed. They may start to lose touch with who they are. We get upset and scared as adults and take them to see psychologist. Maybe put them on medications ..
But is that all really the answer? Stories like the first one I mentioned makes me think as parents we need to teach our children that it is ok to disconnect every once in a while. Heck, maybe we should even make them.
So I suppose maybe during this Let Kids be Kids series I will keep in mind that places in Texas to visit are ones that are best viewed without technology. Let’s take the kids and leave behind stress while making time to stop and smell the roses. Quite literally.
In the mean time, I proposed this question on facebook last night. Is it bad to take away a childs technology for a few days to make them disconnect from daily drama the way we do as adults? The question on FB had an overwhelming response of ‘NO. It would NOT be bad to do that’. What do you think? Would it make a difference in the way teens cope with stress?