Keep Track, Take Action: Parenting

During the process of creating the Keepers app, we wanted to get a better understanding of parent-child relationships, to evaluate whether or not it can truly help people, and how we should go about introducing the product to parents. Clinical therapist and parent-child relations specialist, Dr. Sharon Brown, was kind enough to speak to us on the matter. We’ve included our interview with her here.

How should parents approach talking to their kids about an issue?

  • “If a parent observes a noticeable change in behavior, then they should ask the child directly (a) what is going on and (b) if they would like to talk about it? If they are not ready, the parent can say that they are available to talk when the child is ready.”

Can parents make children feel comfortable coming to them with a problem they are dealing with?

  • “I think that this depends on the type of relationship that the child has with the parent. Not all parents are sensitive good listeners, nor do they always give the best advice.”

How much influence does the internet have on children these days?

  • “This depends on the type of education that the child has received from the parents. Some parents micro-manage a child or even stand over their children while they are on line. Other parents educate their children to the best of their ability to warn them about the potential dangers of online conversations. This would include educating children about not giving any personal information about themselves like name, address, or phone number, school etc.”

To what degree do children socialize either online or via apps?

  • “I believe in today’s day and age, on line presence is very active. In fact, it seems that many children prefer texting over phone calls or email. They also seem to forget about how to socialize in person.”

How should parents go about limiting internet access, or should they?

  • “That depends on the maturity of the child and if there is open communication between the parent and child. It is okay for parents to ask children which sites they are visiting. However, that assumes that the child is able to respond honestly. Some children are hiding relationships from their parents, and that can pose some possible dangerous situations.”

What changes in behavior should I be looking out for as a parent/ what are the warning signs of cyberbullying?

  • “Moodiness, isolation from family and friends, fearfulness on the part of the child. This would include making sure that house doors are locked, strange cars coming to the house. The child may hide the web site that they are on when the parent enters the room.”

What are potential short and long term effects of cyberbullying?

  • “Short term effects can be depression, fear, and the urge to be with the “in” group. Long term effects could be that the child does not learn to trust themselves or other people. Talking with strangers online is never a good idea no matter how enticing it may seem. As for knowing the other person, that can pose other types of behavior, like acting out, doing risky activities like sneaking out of the house when the parents are asleep, drinking alcohol due to peer pressure, following through on a dare that may be socially unacceptable.”
At Keepers, we think it’s safe to say that most parents want to protect their children. Whether that be from physical, emotional, or psychological harm, we don’t want our children to get hurt. So how should we go about this, in a world of technology, where the abuse goes beyond face to face confrontation? Well, we believe that monitoring the content on your child’s cell phone is a good start.
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