Vetting online friends

How have you vetted the friends your child is texting with? Out 15yo kid is texting people and we don’t know who they are or where they met them or how they met them. We are preparing for a sit down honest talk and asking about these friends and trying to draw the line while giving them some privacy. We were teenagers too who had friends and acquaintances parents didn’t all know about, and our parents didn’t always know about the people over our school friends houses. We could use some tips.

This is definitely an important discussion to have, and fair points about letting them make their own way without hovering too much. For us, I know I don’t know all of my kids’ text / gaming friends; as long as they met them or know them from school, that’s fine and I tend to trust what they tell me for the most part.

Not so much texting, but my kids will online game chat with kids they haven’t necessarily met first hand, BUT they are a friend of a friend they DO know. I’m ok with that, and it seems harmless enough. (My kids have friends from sports teams in the same district, but different schools, so they don’t have the same classmates).

I just reiterate that even if they are a “friend of a friend”, best behavior, smart choices, people are not always who they say they are (that cute “15 y/o girl may be a 57 y/o man in his mom’s basement in his underwear”; NEVER give out PII = full name, location, school, etc.). Safety, safety, safety!! You never know who’s really on the other end. :pray:

Perhaps this article may have some tips that can help in this realm?

Lots of other helpful tips at bark.us/blog! :slight_smile:

Hello, Steve! I really like how you worded what you posted above. You’re recognizing the natural desire to connect, and even showing awesome empathy by connecting it to what you remember about that same desire. My stance is to “assume there’s nothing wrong until something is wrong” :slight_smile: It’s maintaining an overall posture of curiosity and not condemnation which I think can make a world of difference. The teens I’ve worked with have an amazing radar and can sniff out the difference in a second! Maybe invite your child into helping you come up with what the boundaries or guidelines should be. Giving him/her agency is also really huge. Hope some of that helps!