We are in an exciting time with the explosion of technology in our lives offering rapid change. We live in a world where our children are now digital natives, yet many adults can't keep up with the variety of texting/hashtag words and instant images that come so easily to their kids. They no longer have to wait to watch a televsion show coming on since they have immediate access to You Tube, games or connecting with friends.
Social media has many advantages in education environments and in the market place yet our children are stepping onto digital booby traps over and over again.
As new parents, we baby proof our homes and worry endlessly about something unexpected happening. Why then do many parents admit that they feel blind sided and have given up with monitoring social media app choices and cell phones? Why aren't we using the same approach of carefully guiding kids through these choices, as we did teaching them how to swim and using arm floaties? How can we role model our own digital reputations and start protecting our children's online reputations for the future?
Libba Carver Skarnulis, MA LPC
Mrs. Skarnulis is a skilled presenter with a wide range of community experience working with children/teens and parents. She has professional training and experience as a licensed professional counselor. Currenly a parent of high school teens, she is aware of current trends in homes and in schools. She is especially versed in online communication issues which are “do or die” for most kids today.
She has both a Masters in Theatre (1990) and a Masters in Counseling (2010) from St. Edwards University (LPC/LMFT Track) . The combination allows her a unique blend of presentation, consulting and counseling styles.
She worked as a staff therapist with the Austin Child Guidance Center for several years where she met clients that besides some of their other mental health needs were experiencing depression or anxiety from too much time online. She worked specifically with a parent/teen program that also allowed for family therapy work involving cell phone usage and limits.
When talking to kids or teens, Ms. Skarnulis always points out that Digital Down Low and her consulting doesn't focus on empowering parents to limit every move their daughter or sons make on their phone or the internet. The reality is that the family conversation is made more aware by translating how it feels to be a teen in this time period with all the technological access. Ms. Skarnulis stresses to parents to not over dramatize what they may not understand and/or to not reaact in a over punative retalizationwith their kids.