Parents need to stay vigilant

Published 10:41 am Wednesday, March 28, 2007

In Tuesday’s paper there was a story about a young teenage girl who will soon face a trial for the murder of her mother.

Currently over in Louisiana a teenage boy sits in jail accused of the murdering his parents and a another teenager.

Lots of theories surround both of these cases some which matter and some that don’t. What is important in these cases and others like them is that people are dead and teenagers that are related to them are being held responsible. This makes the burden of grief even heavier for families.

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I won’t presume in this short space to tell you that I can solve this issue or give answers for others to follow to make sure this never happens again.

What I can do is tell you that as much as we would like to believe that this will never happen in our families and that our teenagers are immune to this type of anger, if we as parents are not vigilant then it could be us.

Let’s start with the family computer. My teenage daughter has a computer in her room and we have another one in our home office. Bad idea? Probably so.

When there were three kids at home doing homework and looking up things on the computer combined with my computer needs i, two seemed logical.

My solution to the MySpace issues was handled by someone else. Emily’s big sister, Holly and brother, Matthew always talk to her on the site and are harder on her then I am.

If you don’t have older siblings that will do this for you then every once in awhile you should surprise your teenager and ask to see their site.

Invasion of privacy? As that age group says, whatever!

Privacy at our house consists always knocking before walking into each others rooms.

We started that when my children were very young and still do it to this day.

Everyone has to have some privacy in their life. If a bedroom door is open it means you can come in, if closed you need to knock.

I don’t go through my girls’ purses or my son’s wallet, and I expect that they will ask me before they get a pen or money out of mine.

But the Internet is not private any shape, form or fashion.

When your child logs on to it they are already putting their business out there for millions to see and that should include you, their parent.

Ever read the messages on your child’s MySpace page? Maybe you should. Is someone on there writing them constantly with negative messages, calling them names, or threatening them in any way?

They probably won’t tell you, so your only hope of knowing is to get on there and look for yourself. They don’t like it?

They tell you that you are invading their privacy? Ask them about the other million people who can view their messages.

The key here is that their parent is the one in a million who really cares what is on there.

Christina W. Hall writes a weekly column for The Democrat. She can be reached at