Teens are infuriating, and tweens and teens who don’t follow house rules are even more infuriating.
There are times when I wonder if I was hit with a forgetting stick the day that I decided having kids would be a good idea. In among all the good and the not so good comes the infinitely worse growing up stage where they assert their growing limbs with the determination of a dog with a bone.
Arriving home late every night doesn’t stop them deciding that parents came from outer space with ten heads, geeky glasses and the uncool stick strapped to their heads as babies. They never remember that we were once kids ourselves, and know EXACTLY what it’s like to have peer pressure, little crushes and huge anxieties.
Watching eldests Facebook is how I keep tabs on what he is doing. Yes, I allowed Facebook because the alternative was to say no, and have him set one up at a friend’s house that I had no knowledge of at all.
I’ve mentioned this before, and have been pilloried for allowing my child to be on Facebook at all, yet, I look at his friends list and see very few kids who don’t have an account. Even children whose parents have told me their kids aren’t allowed Facebook are there in all their self taken seductively photographed glory.
What worries me most is watching how some scenarios play out. I delete inappropriate things and I can talk him through some of the things that happen, and I think we’re doing quite well with it. Kids seem to be going online earlier and earlier and I’ve seen some very young children online.
I’ve spoken to parents recently who think their kids don’t have any social media accounts, but the reality is that if we don’t allow them, the parents of other kids will make those decisions for us and allow them to use it there.
I’ve heard too many parents say they don’t understand it all, or totally blast social media without the slightest idea of what it’s all about. By law of averages, anyone reading my blog is likely to be reasonably technically aware and responsible, but how sad that so many don’t take an interest in their kids online activities.
Do you allow your children to use social media? If you don’t, how do you know they don’t have accounts that you don’t know about? Do you approve of social media for kids? These are questions that all parents who are able to need to tackle.
I think our schools should be teaching our kids about the Internet from a much earlier age than they do. We can’t stop our kids accessing inappropriate content, but we can help them to deal with it when they come across it. The Internet and it’s good and bad points is not going to go away. We all have a responsibility to all our kids to help them cope with it. We tell them not to talk to strangers on one hand, but many of us let them talk to anyone they want to online.
From an early age our kids can negotiate parental controls, history deletion and sneaking on with smartphones on friends wi-fi systems.
Isn’t it time that parents who don’t use social media, or don’t approve of the Internet got with the programme and actually learned what it’s all about so they can help their kids with it instead of burying their heads in the sand and thinking it will all go away.
Oh this is a real worry to me.I hate anything like this and will resist to the last moment possible with my youngest.You have made me think though and I DO agree that it’s best to know about your child’s online accounts rather than bury your head and have them go and do it in secret.Great post,certainly made me think x
Verily Victoria Vocalises says
This mirrors one of the discussions we had at Mums Show Live last week – and I, and the rest of the panel, said exactly what you did. In fact I wrote a blog post in a similar vein a couple of weeks ago saying that I was glad that I had the knowledge of social media so that I can guide Grace when it comes to it. Thank you so much for linking both posts up to PoCoLo – I thought I would leave them up and enjoy them both 🙂
Ellen Arnison says
The tweens are really difficult when it comes to social media. Mine are 13 and 11 and seem to spend their time on YouTube (which makes me very twitchy). Fortunately they seem to be fixated with Minecraft and making really boring videos about it which seems safe enough.
Jaime Oliver says
i have a tween and its never ending mine field, i did have the phone company remove the internet function on her phone, but that was because the phone did not allow parental settings so i got it blocked .. does that make me mad
Mum in Meltdown says
I have allowed my youngest to have a FB account now he is in secondary school. However, it was under the condition that he ‘friended’ me so that I could monitor what was going on- he seems to have played by the rules so far 🙂
I know from experience of nieces and nephews that there have been secret twitter and facebook accounts set up. I would probably let mine set them up and then spy on him till kingdom come through all the parental widgety things. Its a hard world kids and this tinternet lark isn’t it?
Scottish Mum says
Yup, it sure is. Kids learn about computers so early and as far as I know from a year group of about 90 in my youngest, only 2 that I know of have no Internet access or gadgets. Such a high uptake among kids.
My son has just decided he wants to go on facebook because all his friends are. I have stalled him until hes old enough but that is very soon. I will have to set one up for him but I want to monitor it, I am glad he spoke to us about it rather than just setting one up
Scottish Mum says
You are fortunate that your son came to you. I’m glad my kids asked me too as it allows me to help them out with it. I allowed Facebook as I control the safety and visibility options. I check my kids friends regularly and if they don’t know anyone personally, I just remove them. They know the score and it means there isn’t anyone that doesn’t got to their school, or are not in their friends / hobbies groups in their timeline. It seems to work well, they can chat to friends and no strangers come in to spoil the day. They do however, get themselves into bother with their own peer groups online, but it’s easier to deal with when it’s people you actually know.
I remove some apps they try to use as that could mean meeting strangers on the apps, but it’s not really been an issue as they mostly use it to keep in touch with their school pals to be honest as it’s free and they can call each other and chat.
There is the option to also not be in the search functions so that you’d have to send your real friends your link to friend you. I quite like that function.
There are some excellent features for privacy and safety. I don’t find Facebook as scary as You Tube to be honest. On YouTube we’d have no control over what they watch. The same goes for some of the kids online games which are horrific in the chat rooms. I find Facebook much more manageable and make my kids less vulnerable than many of the kids games websites.