“Selfies” are pictures taken by a person himself or herself with a camera phone or other device. Selfies have become popular because so many people use them to post nearly real-time updates on social media and other locations to share what is going on in their lives. People also take selfies to post on dating sites or to update work profiles.
However, a dangerous trend is emerging, particularly among teenagers. These young drivers are so excited and happy to be driving that they are taking their own photographs while behind the wheel. This type of distracted driving can lead to a serious or even fatal accident, so parents and others must be aware of this behavior and take steps to address it.
What Can Parents Do To Stop This Trend?
While it is not only teenagers who are guilty of snapping photos while driving, the problem is largely youth-based. This is good news in one way: teens still have time to unlearn bad behavior and learn good behavior. However, this may not happen if parents are unaware of what their teens are doing behind the wheel.
Here are some tips for reducing the likelihood that your child, friend or other family member will take selfies while driving:
- Have a talk. Sometimes, all that is necessary to stop bad behavior is to point it out. When someone is engaging in dangerous driving habits, speak up. The person may not realize how dangerous his or her behavior is. Parents should be honest with kids about their expectations when they are driving and should never turn a blind eye to bad driving habits. This includes not only selfies, but texting, adjusting hair while driving, drinking coffee or tea, and eating behind the wheel. Another idea is to have teachers or school administrators address this behavior at school. Sometimes hearing it from someone other than the parent works better with teens.
- Monitor behavior. For teens, it is sometimes necessary to go beyond taking a person’s word for it. Parents may need to monitor teen driving in California, examine phones and may even have to take the step of monitoring social media and web sites to ensure that the teen is not posting pictures of himself or herself engaged in dangerous behavior. This may not be something parents like to do, but it may save a child’s life.
- Implement consequences. For young drivers, do not be afraid to take away the keys if the teen proves to be unsafe behind the wheel. For older drivers, enforce in whatever way is necessary to help prevent an accident.