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How to Have a Closer Relationship With Your Kids

Want a closer relationship with your kids? Doing these tips could help you see what online activity your teen could be hiding from you.

A pastor told me years ago, after speaking at a youth event, that he had removed all the doors in his house, except for the door to his bedroom and all the bathrooms of course. His kids were constantly isolating themselves in their rooms and he wanted his family back. At first, his children (all teens at the time) were not too happy, but after about 3 days they began to embrace the new “open door” policy. He said his kids had the closest relationship with him and his wife during those doorless years than any other previous years they’ve had. Deep communication, game nights and family outings took the place of separate bedroom confinement.

When it comes to technology, the next generation spends much more time being “social” online than being social face-to-face. Our kids also know more about the latest, greatest gadgets than us parents! Ignorance is NOT bliss in this situation. In order to keep our children safe, however, we need to go undercover and find out what our kids are doing on the world wide web. Believe it or not, teens are living more in secrecy than we realize.

That percentage is up from 45% in 2010. McAfee’s Robert Siciliano shares his concern regarding the survey results, saying, “Parents, you must stay in-the-know. Since your teens have grown up in an online world, they may be more online savvy than you, but you can’t give up. You must challenge yourself to become familiar with the complexities of the teen online universe and stay educated on the various devices your teens are using to go online.” Even though it does take time and effort to be engaged, I couldn’t agree more.

This survey also includes a list of the “top 10 ways teens are fooling their parents.” May this help you decipher what questions you could ask your kids of what might be going on behind the scenes that you don’t know about. Here’s what teens are doing to hide their online activities.

  • clearing their browser history (53% of teens)
  • closing or minimizing a browser when a parent walks in (46%)
  • hiding or deleting Instant Messages or videos (34%)
  • lying or omitting details about online activities (23%)
  • using a computer parents don’t check (23%)
  • using an Internet-enabled mobile device (21%)
  • using privacy settings to make certain content viewable only by friends (20%)
  • using private browsing modes (20%)
  • creating private email addresses unknown to parents (15%)
  • creating duplicate and/or fake social network profiles (9%)

closer relationshipAfter viewing the above list, you can sit down with your kids and ask some in-depth questions. Find out if they have a fake social network profile or are using a computer you don’t know exists. Keep an eye out for their behavior and activities. So they don’t think you’re attacking them, let them know it’s not that you don’t trust them, but that you don’t trust anybody else.

If you need to look up a story or two of teens who’ve been abused, kidnapped, etc. by a criminal who claimed to be a “kid” from a “neighboring town,” do it. This will help your child see that anyone can fake who they claim to be on the web. Check out Family Watch Dog to see if there are any registered sex offenders in your area. This will help your kids see the importance of why you need to ask the tough questions.

As 2016 quickly approaches, may you enjoy Christmas with your precious family. If you need to, remove some doors and shut off the devices and see if this doesn’t help you reestablish the family environment you once had or dreamed of having. Gotta go loosen some hinges…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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