iParenting: Keeping Up with Technology in a Digital World

- AMARILLO -- Your kids have gone digital.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 75 percent of teens have phones and more than half of those are logging on to a social networking site more than once a day.

It's true with the Lester family; Darby and Jake are plugged in and so are their parents.    Their dad, Kurt Lester, says you have to go where your kids are and in this case it's online. "They communicate more through digital than we do verbally.  If you're just going to ask them how things went and then not go investigate their digital life then you're missing a huge chunk."

The real challenge for parents is keeping up with all the downloadable applications for their smartphones.  Belinda Palacios is the Senior Vice President of Community Based Services at Cal Farley's and says, "everyday there's something new." 

There's a fear factor for parents because there are dangers of living in a digital world for teens.  Palacios says it comes down to the unknown, "you don't see who is on the other end and so you don't know who they are. It's an anonymous world.  It's truly an anonymous world."

What can parents do?  Amy Lester, a mother and educator, says do your homework, "If you don't educate yourself on the latest technology or the latest slang and what not, you have no clue what's going on in the teenage world."

If you're looking to plug into your kids virtual world you have to start with logging on.  "Look at your kids phones," says Palacios.  "See what apps are on there.  Don't have any passwords.  If your gut is telling you something is not right,  99.9 percent of the time it's not right."

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