There is what you believe the gift you are giving your 13 year old son means.
This is the gift you are actually giving him - and he thanks you.
Here is my list of 5 things you can do to control what is accessible from your home network and on devices you own. They require either overcoming your fear and ignorance of technology or hiring someone fearless and informed. It would be a worthwhile investment of time or money.
- Home Technology Policy / Contract - basics include no tech in bedroom, no passwords mom doesn't know, devices on charger in mom's room at night, no screens at the dinner table, homework restrictions, no explicit content. (Here is a link to a blog post that went viral with an example of an iPhone contract with a teen.)
- OpenDNS - FREE! EASY! INVISIBLE! EFFECTIVE! OpenDNS.com and follow their instructions to making your home network as safe as you want it. I've been using it for over 5 years and I love it.
- Computer Parental Controls - PC or Mac, it doesn't matter, they all come with parental controls. Fiddle with them or go to YouTube and search for tutorials like this one.
- iTouch, iPhone, iPad, Smart Phone, Tablet - Parental Controls - you can restrict the browsers, change browsers, set a volume control to keep them from deafening themselves, etc. Take a moment and view this video on how to set parental controls on an iPhone.
- Talk About It - It might be easier to get addicted to technology than it is alcohol, drugs or sex. It is more easily accessible, socially acceptable and undiagnosed and untreated for now. Kids don't realize or understand that they are training their brains to respond to that 'ding' like Pavlov's dogs to a bell. They salivate at the ding or buzz or whistle and immediately have an overwhelming impulse to respond. Warn them - talk to them - help them.