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Monitoring teen's text messages

Texting and media on cell phones and iPods

Texting and media on cell phones and iPods have increased dramatically in the 8 to 18 year-old bracket in the past five years. Credit: iStock

Q. When monitoring my son's texting, I saw comments from one of his friends that were very disrespectful toward the boy's mother. Should I tell his mom?

A. "I wouldn't bring that up to another parent," says Erika Katz, a parenting and social media maven. Katz addressed the question from one of 50 moms attending a Social Media Butterfly Luncheon at Mitch & Toni's American Bistro in Albertson Friday.

Katz says kids often vent to each other about their parents. She used her own tween as an example -- he might behave rudely toward her one day and the next "is sick and wants his mommy."

She would, however, approach another parent if a child's friend made bullying or hurtful comments about another child's appearance or personality. "What if tomorrow that girl harmed herself, and I saw it and I didn't do something about it?" Katz says.

First, she would take a screenshot of the comment, or save the offending text. "You need proof," she says. "This is my opinion: Usually, when you call a parent, they don't want to hear it and they say, 'You're wrong, not my kid.'"

Katz advises a nonjudgmental approach. "Say, 'Look, I know your child is wonderful. All our children are going through puberty; they make mistakes.'" If you don't feel comfortable, you could ask for a school counselor's help, Katz says.

Katz says she would certainly approach another parent if a child's comments were threatening violence or referring to any illegal activity.

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