If you’re not on twitter, you should consider it, especially if your teenager is there. It will help you be a better parent, and it won’t even cost you any time (I’ll show you how in tomorrows post).
Engaging on Twitter will do two things for you as a parent:
1. It will help you understand your student and their friends
Students interact with Twitter very differently than they did with Facebook. When Facebook was new, you’d find students posting questionable stuff, maybe a pic that shouldn’t have been posted or a comment that should have been kept to themselves. Facebook seemed to be more of a visual diary of sorts, while thoughts may have been implied or hidden.
Twitter seems to have brought out an entirely new level of frankness. Maybe because parents aren’t on Twitter or because they can hide their timeline. Whatever the reason, students (even the church kids) are going public with thoughts that parents need to read. I’ve read tweets about sexual thoughts towards a teacher, threats towards school officials, foul language, sexual advances towards other students, and of course bullying. Some of those I’ve even seen from church kids.Twitter has drawn from the well of their hearts and they’re not afraid to expose it.
If you’re having trouble with your student opening up about their world, Twitter will give you much of the insight you need. Don’t be naive. Understanding your teen is much of the battle.
2. It will help you open lines of communication
It’s hard to address what you don’t know is happening. Once you have an understanding, an open dialogue about their thoughts and their peers becomes easier. Tact and timing is crucial though. I’ve seen more than one student (again, church kids) get defensive when inappropriate tweets are brought up.
In tomorrow’s post, I’ll help you set up your twitter account to get automatic updates from your student and their friends sent to you by text.