‘If you don’t text, you don’t exist’ – Hallie, 13

‘If you don’t text, you don’t exist’ – Hallie, 13

Posted by in Non-Fiction, Recommended Reading

If this statement rings true of your daughter’s relationship with her mobile phone and you have no idea what to do about it, the new edition of the bestselling Queen Bees and Wannabes is the book for you.

First published in 2002, Queen Bees and Wannabes fundamentally changed the way adults look at girl’s friendships and conflicts – from how they choose their best friends, how they express their anger, their boundaries with boys, and their relationships with parents. The book lifted the lid on the intricacies and conflicts of ‘Girl World’ and was the inspiration behind the hit movie Mean Girls.

Now, Rosalind Wiseman has revised and updated her groundbreaking book for a new generation of girls and their parents, confronting the impact of technology such as Facebook and text messaging on their friendships and relationships.

Packed with real-life experiences of girls, boys and parents, Queen Bees and Wannabes offers concrete strategies to help you empower your daughter to be socially competent and treat herself with dignity.

Here, Rosalind Wiseman provides a quick master class on the main issues associated with the impact of technology on your daughter’s behaviour:

‘Being online is like being drunk. Instead of liquid courage, it’s virtual courage – Emily, 18

‘The limit of how mean and vicious a girl can be is beginning to disappear. If girls are pretty certain that other girls won’t be confrontational face-to-face, they have the freedom to be super nasty and never have to own up to it’ – Lily, 18

To truly understand a girl growing up in today’s world you have to have a basic comprehension of the technology she uses to connect and live in it.

Your daughter lives in two worlds simultaneously – the real world and the virtual world. In her mind, they are interconnected. What happens in one impacts the other, and vice versa. Unfortunately, where adults have struggled is realising and then knowing how to give our children moral guideposts in the virtual world just as they do in the real world. Queen Bees and Wannabes will give you a lot of information on both because one of the most important things I’d like you to take away is seeing your daughter’s use of technology as a way to teach her your family values. You have to embrace it as a critical opportunity to show what you stand for.

First we have to understand why parents give their children access to technology so easily.

  • The tools of technology became cheaper and more readily available.
  • 'I just feel better knowing my child has a mobile phone.’ Parents believe that if their child has a cell phone, they can reach him or her at any time and they will know where their children are at all times.
  • Having cell phones, iPods, and Game Boys has become so normal that we don’t question whether and when our children should have them.
  • Parents worry that if their children don’t have these tools, they will be at a disadvantage compared with their peers and suffer academically.

What parents don’t realise are the other consequences, including the following:

  • They are status symbols among kids and a prime place for children to become mindless, relentless consumers (think about how many times your child has begged you for the latest technology).
  • Mobile phones make it more difficult to know where children are because they can lie and say they are exactly where they are supposed to be. Technology makes it much easier to sneak behind parents’ backs and have increased freedom of movement.
  • Technology increases the spread and intensity of gossip, humiliation, and drama.
  • We, the adults, can get so hooked on it ourselves that we role-model horrible behaviour.

My Truths About How People Of All Ages Interact Online:

  • They do things online they wouldn’t do in real life.
  • People fight over technology in ways they never would face-to-face because they can say their version of events without getting immediate feedback that might challenge it. It allows people to throw more intense self-righteous temper tantrums.
  • It’s quicker and easier to disseminate information, which then becomes harder to get rid of – there is no digital janitor to paint over our Facebook walls.
  • People give personal information online, knowing that their privacy can very easily be violated. This fact, however, does little to stop they from posting that personal information of being surprised when that information becomes public.
  • Technology fans the flames of paranoia. Almost everyone has had the experience in school when they’ve done something really embarrassing and them walked down the school hallway thinking, ‘Everyone is looking at me. Everyone knows what I did or what happened.’ Well yesterday’s teen paranoia is your daughter’s reality – everybody really does know.
  • They are addicted to being connected. Having been raise din a connective culture, many children feel like there is no way the information stream would stop or that it should. Even if your child disconnects, she understandably believes that she ‘can’t ever stop the chatter.’ All these people in her school and community now feel like they’re n your house and in her room. Technology provides a constantly updated picture of everyone’s life.

Rosalind Wiseman is an internationally recognised author and educator on children, teens, parenting, bullying, social justice, and ethical leadership. Queen Bees and Wannabes is available to buy now from Piatkus, priced at £9.99.

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