Home | National News | 'Trust' explores social parenting

'Trust' explores social parenting

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
image 'Trust' - Produced and Directed by David Schwimmer

'Trust' touches on responsible use of social networks by children and how disconnected parents can become from the inner life of their teenager.

By Denise Terry

March 31, 2011 -- Ask any parent of a teenage girl what their worst nightmare is, and it's likely you'll come up with something similar to the script for the new movie 'Trust'. Directed by David Schwimmer (formerly “Ross” from Friends), 'Trust' touches on the very serious topic of responsible use of social networks by children and how 'disconnected' parents can become from the inner life of their teenager. In the movie, fourteen-year-old teen Annie meets a boy on a social network who turns out to be not who he says he is. After months of communicating on the Internet and by phone, the two agree to meet in a public place without her parents’ knowledge. After the boy is revealed to be more than twice her age, a confused and shocked Annie becomes the victim of a sexual assault - a parent's worst nightmare. The fallout from the event includes the victim being harassed by her classmates, the pain and anger felt by her parents, and scrutiny of what others perceived to be bad parenting decisions.

The world has changed radically in the last ten years; the way children interact has changed, and children are often more savvy with technology than their parents are. Our teens are growing up with 24/7 access to Facebook, texting, and a widening technology gap between themselves and their not-always-tech-savvy parents. While technology like Facebook is not to blame for some of the dysfunction that teens display when socializing with each other online, it does behoove parents to get much more involved at a time when it's so easy for kids to 'check out' and not disclose just what's happening in their daily lives as teens. The movie drives this point home quite dramatically, since 'Annie' seems like a normal, happy teenage girl with a good relationship with her parents, and yet she still acts naively and without parental consent when she gets physically involved with the stranger she's been communicating with online.

The movie "Trust" reminds us that parenting is not a perfect science, and those of us who think 'It can't/won't happen to *my* kid' really need to wake up and pay attention. Here are some tips:

  • Get involved in the online activity of your children, especially on social networking sites like Facebook where people aren’t always who they claim to be.
  • Teens like to experiment and sometimes make mistakes, including on sites like Facebook where consequences are not easily 'erased' or forgotten. Make sure your child understands that Google and the Internet are their permanent record, so anything posted online can damage their reputation or endanger their safety if they aren't careful.
  • Make sure you talk to your teen about appropriate behavior, before they make these common teen Facebook mistakes
  • Know who your children are friends with online, especially over-age friends or friends you haven’t met.
  • Just because your child is under Facebook's "legal age" of 13 years old, don't assume he or she isn't one of the millions of tweens sneaking onto Facebook in record numbers each year. (The parental control program SafetyWeb will tell you as soon as your child gets an account with any of over a hundred sites.)
  • Get alerts on suspicious or risky content posted to your child or by your child so that you don't have to read *every single post*, but can still keep track of their safety.
  • Familiarize yourself with teen issues that your child may eventually confront, such as sexting, Facebook stalking, cyberbullying and teen depression.
  • If you or your child discover a Facebook imposter, such as someone impersonating your child online or claiming to be someone they are not (such as a teenage boy when they are a sex offender), report it to Facebook immediately and contact your local police department. Online impersonation is a crime in California, and may soon be if other states follow suit.

For parents, it’s crucial to have in place as early as possible rules and standards about a child’s online activity. The immediate knowledge of new friends, an open discussion of social network activity, and real-time alerts can contribute to a safer online environment for children, but they cannot solve the problem. Children must be responsible for the way they protect their privacy and their own safety on social networks, too.

The movie will be released on Friday, April 1st and is not overly graphic (despite the "R" rating), but does deal with some heavy issues. Parents with teenagers are especially encouraged to see the movie with or without their teenager and discuss topics like how to be safe on Facebook, appropriate social networking and texting etiquette, "house rules" for interacting with friends both online and offline, and why it’s important that parents stay in the loop.

Denise Terry is Chief Safety Mom for SafetyWeb and focuses on how to maintain open communication and a trust-based relationship with your child in the age of social networks and cellphones.

 

  • email Email to a friend
  • print Print version
  • Plain text Plain text
Tags
No tags for this article
More from National News
Previous
Ohio Educators Adopt School Safety Initiatives
School associations have partnered with NaviGate Prepared, a system that gives first responders eyes-on visibility to a crisis as it unfolds, significantly reducing and improving response time. ...
image
CyberPatriot VI Registration Open
Registration for the largest national cyber defense competition, CyberPatriot, is underway. High schools and home school programs are invited....
Enterasys Network Access Control Honored
Student demands for an enhanced classroom experience are met, while educators are provided the assurance they need that their networks are secure and within their control....
LA84 Foundation Tackles Youth Football Safety Issue
Scholars, doctors and sports officials will join the LA84 Foundation to discuss whether youth under the age of 14 should be allowed to participate in tackle football....
image
Tribute: 'I Have A Dream' Speech
A video playlist commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" Speech, August 28, 1963....
image
Obama on Black Youth Issues
"When Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago." ...
NASRO Announces National Award Recipients
School Resource Officer of the Year, Deputy Jason Solomon, created a cadet program focused on law enforcement, and led an investigation of a teacher who was having an inappropriate relationship with a student....
image
Raise Your Voice, Not Your Hands!
In anticipation of the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, the Broward Sheriff's Office is urging young people not to let their emotions get the best of them....
Family Settles Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Ole Miss, NCAA
The Abram family filed the lawsuit in May 2011 based on claims that coaches, trainers and athletic department officials at Ole Miss violated NCAA guidelines covering the intensity of spring practices....
image
Visiting Savoy School
With the Turnaround Arts Initiative, test scores are rising, enrollment is up 18%, attendance is up, and the school is developing fine arts partnerships....
Mace Security Promotes Using Pepper Spray in Schools
John McCann, president and CEO of Mace Security International, said he planned to convey to lawmakers that there is an alternative to using armed guards to protect children from would-be attackers....
NASRO Announces Keynotes for National Conference
NASRO's 23rd annual School Safety Conference July 14 to 19 in Orlando, Fla. will offer sessions from the FBI, representatives of the Newtown, Conn. police department, and school policing experts....
Are Indiana Schools Safe for Our Children?
Two of Indiana’s key personnel working towards safer schools will speak at the IACP Fall Conference: Attorney General Greg Zoeller, and Glenda Ritz, Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction. ...
image
Youth Leadership Training in Michigan
Michigan State Police provide teens with training in first aid, ethics, presentation skills, job interview techniques, gang awareness, and emergency preparedness....
A Role for Officers in Schools
CSG Justice Center initiative seeks to help minimize dependence on suspension and expulsion to manage student behaviors, improve students’ academic outcomes, and reduce their involvement in the juvenile justice system....
Next