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The Tweeny Teen Effect with Social Media

Teens are infuriating, and tweens and teens who don’t follow house rules are even more infuriating.

angry kitten

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.