I wrote a post on dating apps late last year.
I’ll be honest, as much as I feel passionately about technology and being connected, pushing the button to post that scared me. Not because I’m not talking openly with my adult kids or teens; I know about these apps. Trust me, when the subject comes up, our kids are pretty open about dating apps. It’s when I’m sharing that information with other adults, I notice a high occurrence of shockface. I’m not sure why conversation with adults about dating and anonymous apps becomes uncomfortable, but it does. And, when talking about certain categories of apps, I tend to notice faces of shock, dismay, and certainly disapproval.
My guess is some of us feel as if using these apps, or even knowledge of certain apps, is a sure fire way to slap an undesirable label on a person. We’re beginning to categorize apps and, in doing so, we’re alienating each other as parents. My worst fear is that we’re alienating our kids. And, I don’t think any parent wants to do that.
We’re using phrases like:
“We don’t allow those apps in our home.”
“My kid would never…”
“That app is a XXX app”
These phrases divide us as parents.
These phrases hurt families.
What we need to talk about now becomes something we feel we shouldn’t. And, our kids feel it as well.
What if our conversations went more like:
“What can I do to encourage conversation about apps in our home?”
“I want my kids to be safe online, but I want them to know they can turn to me if they fall. How do I strike that balance?”
“Why would my child be drawn to this app, and what would be talking points we might want to have when discussing if it’s age appropriate?”
Let’s keep talking openly with our kids. And, let’s keep talking openly with each other so we can share our parenting struggles and insights as we walk through this fast moving digital world.