How to help your child with cyber pressure

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

TheFish103.9  CyberParenting Topic: Cyber Pressure

What is cyber pressure? And how does it impact the role of the parent?

Cyber pressure is an alternative reality experienced via texting and social media, and is largely based upon dangerous assumptions and beliefs promoted by the unlimited access to data, ideas, images, beliefs, people, and communications.

Some examples include:

  • “I can Google everything I need to know” (genuine mentor relationships with elders is de-emphasized)
  • A connection is the same thing as a relationship
  • Many teens believe that their mobile devices are an extension of themselves, and that separate from their social networks, they are invisible.
  • The steady streams of cyber-powered information and exchanges can create a virtual community of new norms that are beneath our children (binge drinking is okay; foul language, contentious communications, and cruelty are acceptable; prescription drugs are safe).

Unchecked, cyber pressure erodes confidence by creating a perception that there are no limits making us insecure –wondering who will be the next cyberbully or predator target,  and believing everyone is binge drinking and taking prescription pills, or  that you need to have more “friend” connections to order to be validated.

And the role of the parent is marginalized… because children experience a self-sufficiency in the power of their communications reach (to search and connect).   Unmonitored communications combined with an intoxication of autonomy can be confused with individual liberty.

And there is good news! This cyber pressure inspires a desire for authenticity from  parents, yielding a deep, rich relationship rooted in the faith of our founding fathers. For more about  genuine authority and relating to your child, go to: The Authority In Me.

How can parents help their children to be more resilient to cyber pressure?

Help your child with the ability to govern themselves, separate from the network and speak truth with mercy. That means sometimes you will agree to disagree with peers.

Photo: Jeffery Turner (Flickr)

With a moral compass, it is possible to maintain boundaries for your own personal security. And in the network, cyber pressure amplifies morality as relative. “Whatever” is the catch phrase we hear a lot.  In the network , there is a tendancy to align with “self” – (i.e., my profile, my preferences) over alignment with truth and wisdom.

Digital natives tend to believe that to have standards, or hold the line on personal boundaries, is perceived as a “judgy” thing. There is pressure to go along in order to get along.  And so there are so many “swing voters” when cruel, dangerous or immoral things are happening in their “friend” communities.

Help your child be confident in the network by establishing cyber safe rules at home, which may serve as personal boundaries to resist network pressure to do things that are not safe or out of character (sexting, drug and alcohol abuse, cyberbullying, etc.)

For more about relating genuine authority to your children, check out the ebook: The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture.

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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna (jullien@surewest.net) and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.

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