VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
Counselors' Guidelines for the Healthy Development of Youth in the Digital Age
Lakitta D. Johnson and Ronica Arnold Branson
In today’s homes, schools, and public settings, children’s access to technology appears to be ageless and limitless. Various forms of technology are introduced to children at a very young age and appear as a natural and appropriate part of their development. Many children today don’t recognize a time when access to computers, cell phones, and other networking tools were not easily available. As a result, online technology is now shaping the way humans communicate, socialize, and interact with each other. The Internet is now one of the most widely accessed methods of communication used by children and teenagers. The use of technology in the form of the Internet, e-mail, social networking sites, and instant messaging allows children and teenagers to engage in various experiences that are often beyond the control of their parents and confines of homes and schools (Mishna, McLuckie, & Saini, 2009). When used appropriately, technology has many benefits to society as a whole. The problem arises when it is used inappropriately and has a negative impact on the healthy development of children. Additionally, problems occur through the accessibility and anonymity of electronic media which places children and youth at risk for victimization (Ybarra, 2004). It is the duty and responsibility of counselors to protect and advocate for the healthy development of all children. Because of the widespread popularity and use of technology, it is here to stay; thus, it falls on counselors to teach others the safe use of technology as well as the negative impact of its improper use on children.