TODAY | January 24, 2013
>>> this morning on "today's" parenting what you need to know about your teens. we posted a survey on some hot button topics on today.com. it hit a nerve. tens of thousands of people responded snochltd here responded. here to talk about results. host and psychologist, jennifer and two teens. let's talk about this manti te'o story. a lot of people are talking about this. here's a guy who apparently had a relationship he built with a girl he thought was real online and eventually got to the point he called her his girlfriend. there's a lot of other facts to the story. we don't have time for those right now. i think what a lot of parents, lucy, are trying to get their arms around is could their teen have a relationship with someone online and get to the point where they feel romantically link to that person even though they've never met that person?
>> teens in our generation are so used to the internet and grew up in live chat rooms, talking to strangers meeting people our parents probably tell us to stay away from. as teens, you know, we're so used to that, that euroing i don't think it's at all strange.
>> this doesn't shock you that this guy thought he had a girlfriend and never met her.
>> unfortunately, no.
>> what's different about our generation we don't group online relationships and interpersonal relationships differently and think they're the same thing. we talk to someone online, text th them, e -mail them.
>> talking about a girlfriend. would either of you label someone online a girlfriend or boyfriend you never met in person?
>> absolutely not.
>> one thing i say with manti te'o one thing he different differentiated. he forget the personal part.
>> we wouldn't do that.
>> the dismiss that.
>> i will bring you in, in a second, doctor. we asked our viewer, more than 25,000 responded. are you surprised someone can develop an emotional relationship with someone online, 76% said now and 24% said yes.
>> their generation doesn't know life without the internet, texting, facebooking, this is how friendships and relationship relationshirelationship relationships develop, you and i know getting on the phone and face to face interaction and that's what's getting missed in all of this and where manti te'o left off.
>>> guess i have a different definition friending someone and becoming someone's friend.
>> with teenagers, you guys are texting, communicating, not talking on the phone, conversation often is texts back and forth, not on the phone conversation.
>> what's the take away for parents on this? what do they need to know ?
>> we use facebook and other social media sites, instagram, p pinterest and twitter people we don't know.
>> a lot of conversations around dinner tables the next couple of weeks, teenagers going to their parents saying i think i'm ready. i would like you to let me go away with my friends on a spring break trip, no parental supervision . how should you talk to your parents about this and how should parents deal with their teens?
>> one common thread, when kids get in lots of trouble or too drunk, go to the hospital, parents are never involved, never communicating with these kids. if you do decide to let your kid go on a spring break trip i wouldn't necessarily advise, if you do decide, make sure you're in contact with them and texting them and calling them and know where they are.
>> there are ground rules , you will call me three times a day or reachable three times a day.
>> exactly, set these ground rules . keep in mind, i don't think there's a set age or set grade a parent will say this is a time you can go on spring break without your family. it's kind of a family decision. you should talk about it. my friends and i sort of organized this and we decided to compromise. my girlfriends and i went on a trip with our 340moms.
>> 93% who responded to our survey said, yes. parents need to set ground rules . is a negotiations appropriate here, doc?
>> sure. you have two teenagers basically saying we want the rules. everybody knows what the expectations are going in is what's important. how often do they have to call? what is the expectation of their behavior.
>> zero alcohol tolerance policy.
>> great to put on the table. how can you enforce that if you're not there. if you know alcohol is going to be present, faulk about how to do it and use it smartly.
>> lucy, you had a good point, talked to our producer, look to see how your child or teenager behaves on the weekend that's kind of how they behave on spring break .
>> if your child is coming home every weekend drunk, causing trouble in the town, misbehaving, that's how they're on spring break . if they're behaving, listen to what you say, follow curfew, you kind of have to trust that's how they will be in mexico.
>> if you have a responsible kid, they will be responsible wherever.