Teaching your Truckee Tahoe tween/teen to look both ways in cyberspace | SierraSun.com

Teaching your Truckee Tahoe tween/teen to look both ways in cyberspace

Teri Andrews Rinne

Last week I introduced the concept of helping our teens survive their online adolescence with a review of one of the first books written on the subject. Since then, two more titles worthy of mention have been published and are also available at the Truckee Library. Both books emphasize kids should not only survive their online adolescence but also thrive with our proactive (as opposed to reactive) parenting, literally “teaching your child to look both ways in cyberspace.”

“Totally Wired: What Teens and Tweens are Really Doing Online” by Anastasia Goodstein is yet another “must-read” for parents according to its glowing reviews. The former editor-in-chief of “Seventeen” magazine tells parents to consider the author Goodstein as the “daughter you totally ‘get’ ” explaining all the behaviors of the daughter you totally don’t ‘get.'” “Totally Wired” is considered a “parent/teen dictionary, brilliant and lifesaving.” According to “Publishers Weekly,” Goodstein isn’t a parent and hails from Generation X, but she has a keen interest in teenagers, a background in teen media and writes a blog (Ypulse.com) which is devoted to teen media and marketing. The author explains she’s spent her career trying to be a “voice of reason” for teens and for adults trying to reach them; in this book she continues her quest to help parents understand their kids by offering a window into their digital world. Goodstein covers the bases, including cyber bullying, blogs and social-networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

What I most appreciate about Goodstein’s book is she accentuates the positives rather than scaring us with the potential risks. Just as I suggested last week, Goodstein urges parents to take the plunge into cyberspace not only in order to keep their children safe but also to build closer relationships. “Ask them about their digital lives,” she advises, “and they’ll start talking about the rest of their lives.”

Another book that also accentuates the potential upside of our wired generation is “Me, MySpace and I: Parenting the Net Generation.” Author Larry Rosen is an international expert on the psychology of technology who also co-wrote “Technostress.” Guided by extensive research and presented in easy-to-read language and real-life examples, Rosen’s book helps bridge the generation divide between parents and their technologically literate kids. Rosen explains how online communities can actually be beneficial for your kids. While he doesn’t downplay the risks associated with some of the complex situations kids confront online (cyberbullying, addictions, sexuality and virtual friendships), he challenges our commonly held beliefs these communities are somehow damaging. In fact, Rosen argues social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook can even improve adolescents’ socialization skills and their overall emotional health.

Next week we wrap up this series by covering books about how to keep your younger kids safe on the Internet.

Library Hours

Recommended Stories For You

Monday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Tuesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Wednesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Thursday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

No storytime during Spring Break, April 13-17, 2009.

Bookshelf’s Dry Camp Book Club at the Library

Meets monthly at the Library. Participants at the book group meeting will receive a coupon for 15 percent off a one-time book purchase at the Bookshelf at Hooligan Rocks. Everyone is welcome. Next meeting is Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 7 p.m. to discuss “Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life” by Arlene Blum.

Now on display at the library:

Portraits by Truckee artist Raphael Jolly

Above the Fireplace: Sand Harbor in oils by Linda D’Tool