Things have changed dramatically since we were teens, but holiday traditions have remained pretty much the same, right? Wrong. Check out these three ways technology has changed Valentine’s Day for your teen.
### No more angst over the perfect card
Remember standing around the card aisle with what seemed like 100 or so other people trying desperately to find that one perfectly written card that summed up exactly what you felt about your crush? Teens still give paper cards, of course, but ecards are becoming more and more common as well, which means no more trekking out in the cold in a futile attempt to find that elusive Hallmark card that says what you feel more eloquently than you ever could. Flash forward to Valentine’s Day 2014, and your teen is just as likely to use an app like Paperless Post to send a heart-felt sentiment. And since they’re customizable, searching for the perfect card is no longer as frustrating.
### School isn’t the only place to find a Valentine
“Will you be my Valentine?” is and possibly always will be a relevant question, but the way it’s posed has certainly changed. Whether you were on the asking or receiving end of this all-important question as a teen, the experience was almost certainly played out in person or on the telephone. Thanks to the Internet, today’s teens have a lot more choice when it comes to choosing someone special. Online forums, messaging platforms, and the ever-controversial “hookup”apps allow teens to find love (albeit puppy love at best) from afar. Unfortunately, not all of these connections are innocent ones. Teens seeking out relationships online could find themselves in danger. According to FBI.gov, more than half a million predators are on the web every day, and many of them are actively seeking out children.
### “Secret” chats are easier to come by
Teens used to resort to stretching the phone cord into their rooms in an attempt to chat privately with friends and boy/girlfriends. They may have even whispered secrets into the receiver, but the only real threat to their privacy was an eavesdropping sibling or (gasp!) parent. Today, there are so many more opportunities for kids to engage in what they think to be clandestine conversations. Nearly all of them have their own cell phones, enabling them to talk whenever and wherever they like. Then there’s text messaging and chat apps, which can be deleted or promise to “self-destruct.” While it’s arguable that teens today have even less real privacy than we did as kids, the illusion of privacy can tempt them to use technology to share things they might not otherwise.
Technology has changed Valentine’s Day (and let’s face it—every other day!) in lots of ways—some of them good and some of them not so good. As parents, it’s our job to observe and understand the ways our children are using technology to interact with others. The more we understand, the more we can help them use their digital resources in safe and positive ways.
Note: The opinions above belong to Melissa Maypole, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Qustodio. Download Qustodio’s free software to begin managing, monitoring, and understanding your kids’ online media consumption today.
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The Best Valentine eCards: Just as Gorgeous, Funny, Sexy, and Romantic as the Real Ones http://coolmomtech.com/2014/02/best-valentine-ecards-paperless-post/#sthash.wMWoGfpN.dpbs
Child Predators: The Online Threat Continues to Grow http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2011/may/predators_051711