You are here

The New Family Values

Jarvis Oxley

Who's Raising Spoiled Kids? Not you!

82% of parents say: “Our children's behavior is a reflection of us.”

Of course, once these same parents get in front of their computer screens (or behind the wheel of a car), they can be anything but well-mannered. “You think you are a step removed because of that screen and keyboard, but there is a human being on the other side with soul and feelings,” says Gwenn Schurgin O'Keeffe, M.D., author of CyberSafe and an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) spokesperson on media. “Parents need to be good role models and understand that just because it's anonymous or semi-anonymous…it could hurt someone. And if you do it, your kids will be more likely to do it because they model their online behavior after you.”

“‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ are just the beginning,” says Bridget Anderson, a mom of five who lives in Hesperia, CA. “Children need to understand that having good manners is a way of showing people you care for their feelings, their help, their being.”

Download This: Online Safety

Millennial moms and dads are not terribly worried about what their kids might encounter online—no doubt because they know how valuable it is to be connected themselves.

44% do not have any parental controls on their computers

34% believe that sheltering kids from outside influences isn't such a great idea. Still…

23% of parents say they're so concerned about outside influences that they homeschool (or plan to)

Allowing some Internet independence is not a bad thing, says Dr. O'Keeffe: “I don't believe in filters or monitors. We live in a society that's driven by fear, and the first step as a parent is not to act on that fear but to get information. Take a class, talk to an expert.” Homeschooling's not the answer either. It's better for kids, socially and academically, to be away from their parents for part of the day, she adds.

Instead, raise them in a spirit of trust and open conversation so they understand the rules. “It's not so lockdown and not so sheltered,” she notes. “Give kids the tools they need to adapt to society, educate ourselves, and monitor, but don't hover.”