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Tech for kids: pros and cons

GRAPEVINE, Texas (BP)–When it comes to kids and cyber technology, think through the pros and cons.


Cell phones have generally replaced the home phone and often are equipped with mobile Web, cameras, texting capability.

— Pros: peace of mind for parents to be able to reach their teenagers; a way to get help in case of emergency; texting provides ways to talk without talking.

— Cons: Teens allowed to keep their cell phones day and night can talk or text day and night; camera phones, texting have been used to cheat on school work; camera phone makes it possible to capture and quickly distribute inappropriate images; Web-enabled phones like iPhones make monitoring online activity more challenging for parents; a potential driving distraction.


A typed conversation that takes place online, real time.

— Pros: Convenient, brief and to the point; teens often more willing to share thoughts in a typed message as opposed to face-to-face conversation. Parents who use IMing might find this a productive way of communicating with kids, especially with issues that are hard to discuss face-to-face (but learn the IM protocol — be brief, don’t nag and don’t over-use it.

— Cons: Abbreviations used to communicate might show up in other areas like school work; less face-to-face interaction with others; kids may put strangers on their buddy list.


Facebook, MySpace, Twitter

— Pros: Online accounts to connect friends and friends of friends; meet others with similar interests; share photo albums and videos; share news efficiently with interested people; ability to document your likes and dislikes and communicate them to your world of friends and acquaintances. Can be used to share spiritual values and beliefs and point friends and others to Christ. Parents with their own social networking account can be added to their child’s friend list, enabling them to monitor the posts on their child’s “wall.”

— Cons: A potential place for strangers to learn about your teen; a place to collect “friends” becomes a status thing, having lots of friends (hundreds); accepting strangers as friends, wall posts by others on your child’s account might be inappropriate; what kids may think is private can easily be made public (pictures, videos, and messages); a venue for marketers to target potential “buyers” of their services.
Used by permission of the Southern Baptist TEXAN, newsjournal of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

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