Ep 258: Privacy Versus Parenting

Devorah Heitner, author of Growing Up in Public, sheds light on the multiple ways we monitor teen’s digital lives and the broader implications of constant surveillance. We also dive into the challenges and opportunities that arise when raising tech-savvy teens. 

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Full Show Notes

Raising teenagers in today’s digitally-focused and surveillance-heavy society can feel like uncharted territory for many parents. The constant monitoring—from social media engagement to academic performance tracking—has transformed the way teens experience their formative years. This digital reality brings a host of new challenges for families, navigating the balance between keeping children safe online and respecting their privacy and independence. But how can parents support their teens without infringing on their autonomy? How can families encourage resilience and kindness in a world that often feels intrusive?

In this week's episode of Talking to Teens, we're delving deep into the complexities of parenting in a digital society. We're joined by Devorah Heitner, an expert in the impact of technology on children and teens, and the author of "Growing Up in Public." Devorah's work has been featured in major outlets such as The New York Times and CNN, and she's here to share her insights on empowering parents to foster resilient and respectful digital citizens.

Digital Surveillance: A Double-Edged Sword

Our kids are growing up under a microscope, scrutinized by both the technology they use and the watchful eyes of their parents. This constant surveillance can have profound implications for their development, sense of self, and privacy. Devorah helps us understand the spectrum of digital monitoring practices—from reading texts to tracking locations—and invites us to question the impact of these actions on our relationships with our teenagers.

The Public Life of Teens: Navigating Mistakes Online

In a world where a single post or comment can have lasting consequences, how can we prepare our teens to navigate their public lives wisely? Devorah discusses the real risks associated with digital missteps and offers practical advice for supporting teens through potential public scrutiny. She emphasizes the importance of leading with compassion and empathy, both for our children and their peers.

Resilience in the Face of Digital Dilemmas

Learning to make amends and move forward from online errors is crucial for building resilience. Whether dealing with minor misjudgments or more severe mistakes, Devorah guides us through approaches to help teens learn from their experiences. She stresses the importance of focusing on character development over punitive responses, encouraging an environment where teens feel safe to seek guidance and share their concerns.

Preparing for Digital Independence

As our teens grow, they will inevitably face decisions about their digital presence and privacy without our direct supervision. Devorah provides insights into fostering discussions about online behaviors, privacy, and consent. She also tackles tough topics like sexting and online bullying, providing a roadmap for open, non-shame-based conversations with our teens.

In this episode, we cover many more aspects of the digital challenges facing teens and their families, including:

- Strategies for teaching digital empathy and kindness
- How to discuss the permanent nature of online actions with teens
- Balancing teen privacy with parental concern in the digital age
- Encouraging critical thinking about social media and consumerism

Listen to the full episode for Devorah Heitner’s expert advice on navigating the digital world with your teen. Whether you’re dealing with minor privacy concerns or confronting a serious online mistake, you'll find actionable tips and compassionate insights to help support your teenager. Don't forget to share and subscribe to Talking to Teens, as we continue exploring the art and science of parenting in the digital age.

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Creators and Guests

Andy Earle
Andy Earle
Host of the Talking to Teens Podcast and founder of Write It Great
Devorah Heitner
Devorah Heitner
Author of national bestseller, Growing Up in Public: Coming of Age in a Digital World. Keynote Speaker.
Ep 258: Privacy Versus Parenting
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