Post # 1
Yesterday, I got curious about that askfm.com that always seems to be implicated in a teenager’s feelings or actions of suicide. I was able to look at random profiles of teenage girls, baring their souls on this website for any random person to see. There was also a lot of bitchiness directed at the girl in the questions, or bitchiness directed to the person asking the question. One girl I looked at was just 13, and not only had she put her phone number down, but her Instagram (public) which was full of shots of her pulling different faces, and wearing a bikini, and a lot of her friends had public profiles too. This terrifies me! My Facebook and Instagram are as private as you can get, I have 3 followers on Instagram (my 2 sisters and my BIL) who I approved. I’m very guarded when it comes to FB, I put nothing private about me on there, because once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.
Askfm did give me a snapshot into what it was like to be a teenager again and have mad crushes on guys, which I wrote about in an old fashioned, pen and paper diary that was always hidden from the world! The last thing I wanted was for anyone to find it, yet kids these days put it online for all to see. It’s interesting to see how times have changed, but scary too. These kids will all grow up with Facebook, Twitter, askfm, snapchat, kik, Instagram, plus too many more than I could ever know about – which makes it all the more harder for parents to know what their kids are up to. As a young teenager, it was good to have a close group of friends, memories of playing truth or dare at slumber parties with them when the most risqué questions you could ask was ‘have you ever kissed a boy?’ Or ‘when did you get your first period?’ because we were never up to anything more than that.
What is the answer? I couldn’t even imagine how hard it must be to be a parent in this day and age, you’d spend their whole life trying to protect them, then discover (or not discover) they are on numerous social media/networking sites and it seems to be too big a battle to ever win. Scary times.
Post # 3
I’m glad I grew up in a generation where I understand the Internet/technology. I’m only 21 and I won’t be having children for quite a few years, but I’m very confident that FI and I will be able to handle these issues.
We know how to make profiles private, check history, see if history is being cleared, put restrictions on sites, etc.
Post # 4
@Deejayelle: Speaking as a Mom of a teenage girl, I have to say it is really scary. I personally keep track of what she does on FB and twitter to the best of my ability. The truth is though, she could have multiple accounts under different names that I don’t know about. I am trusting that she doesn’t, but it is definitely possible for her to do so. I have talked to her at length about internet safety. At the end of the day though, I have to hope she makes wise decisions because it really is up to her. This is a scary prospect as a parent.
I personally feel that social media should be restricted to adults only, 18 years of age and older. I actually hate social media sites, because I feel like most adults don’t know how to act on it, so how can we expect kids to? If your teen sees you trashing someone on FB, why on earth shouldn’t they do it too?
Post # 5
@cls9q: I’m very confident that FI and I will be able to handle these issues
I think that’s a pretty naive attitude. You can helicopter, but you can’t know every single thing someone does on the internet. The more you understand what is actually going on, the more it is frightening!
@Deejayelle: I agree that it’s very scary. Have you read these? Very interesting reads.
Post # 6
@ceebree: I’m not saying I will know everything. But will I be more informed than my mother, or FI’s who did not even know how to pull up the Internet? Yes.
Post # 7
For me I think the best thing is try and educate your children as much as possible, and keep as open and honest a relationship with them as possible. After that you just have to hope they make the right choices and that if they mess up that they know they can come to you for love and support.
Post # 8
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
My generation was the first with private computers in our rooms. Based on my personal experience, I have a lot of ideas of Internet, computer, and cell phone rules that I plan to implement. But no matter how many rules you implement, teens will figure out ways to be sneaky or use technology in ways I couldn’t even imagine. I think what it comes down to is setting reasonable rules based on age and maturity, talking to your kids about technology and privacy and how to protect themselves, and then hoping they will be smart enough to do so. I definitely plan to limit the use of technology and have set no tech hours when we all put our phones away.
Post # 9
Like most other behaviors, this is the responsibility of the parents. The internet is a great place, full of information, but it’s also a place where kids can get into serious trouble, fast.
The very nature of the technology, means pressing that “enter” button cannot be negated. Things happen so fast that vulnerable teenagers can make some really stupid mistakes.
A teenage girl in BC has just been convicted of distributing child porn, because she forwarded some inappropriate pics of an underage teen. Many teens don’t realize this is a criminal act.
Today’s parents have an awesome responsibility to teach their kids how to protect themselves and how not to harm others.
Post # 10
@cls9q: Sorry but I’ve got to agree it’s naive. It’s like me (in my 40s now) saying 25 years ago that I understood technology because I grew up with a phone and TV. And then new technology came along (the web and mobile/cell phones). You have no idea what technology there will be in 25 years, and it may be as mysterious to you as the internet is to your mother.
For you, as it has been for me, it will be the same sort of things: appropriate love and discipline, keeping communication open, and keeping up with technology as best we can.
p.s. How do you tell if sites have been cleared from the history?
Post # 11
I don’t think it’s naive at all to think you will be able to teach children to use the internet in a responsible manner. PP never said ‘I know everything about the internet, therefore I can keep my children safe!’ Maybe her idea of handling this situation is teaching her children that your internet life is not private, and that it can be dangerous.
Post # 12
I have a 14 year old son so this topic is a big part if my life currently. I always go through my sons iPad and phone. I have a nanny installed and check everything from messages to search history etc. I even go to YouTube to see what he is watching. I have created fake profiles with which to follow my child anonymously on social sites such as Instagram, tumbler, ask fm etc. The new trend in social are things like snapchat and kik. These are frightening because you can’t see anything longer than a few seconds. Some may say I’m invading my child’s privacy but I believe privacy is for adults. As long as I am responsible for your safety it is my job to know what’s going on. Besides if your blasting it online it’s no secret. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mother to see. My son calla me the NSA and his password is ” himom” lol. It’s hard parenting with all of these new sites popping up every day but these things can be tools as well. I’ve been able to initiate conversations based on things I see kids posting.
The key to the ask fm thing is they must turn off anonymous.
Post # 13
Just don’t give them access to it. I don’t think that’s overly harsh. Social media and/or a smartphone are not required to be a functioning teenager. If my child is absolutely determined to get on social media, he/she will do so at the library or at a friend’s house, something they could do anyway even if I did give them access. I think it should just be treated like any other risky business (smoking, drinking, etc.). Not in my house, which implies I don’t want child doing it all. Then, if they engage in it outside of my house, hopefully they feel the guilt and the caution that comes with doing so.
Post # 14
I feel like this is a tricky situation.
On one hand, you want to give your child the freedom to make mistakes and learn for themselves.
On the other hand, you don’t want someone to prey on them and their life to be in danger.
With the internet, this is a delicate balance! I don’t want to be a helicopter mom, but I also want to be involved.
So, end result: I’m scared shitless to parent in today’s time. Things are always evolving and changing. Let’s be realistic, I’m already not up to date on all of the social networking sites. So I am going to try my hardest to teach internet safety and encourage an open dialogue of discussion. I just want my door to always be open for communication. Even if I don’t like what they’re saying.
With my mom, I still can’t talk to her about personal feelings and what is going on in my life. She’s a last resort type of person. I want to be one of the first people my child goes to under stress. Maybe that will help? Who knows…
Post # 15
@Deejayelle: I know!! I work with young people, and the information they can see, and the people they can get caught up with is terrifying
Post # 16
I won’t have kids of my own for a few years, but it is extremely scary to think of how bad it is today, and then realize that it will still be years before my own kids are old enough to use technology, and things will probably get a lot worse before they get better. My parents never really gave us any rules for the computer. It was in the main room of our house when I was in my early teens, so maybe that kept me off of sites I shouldn’t have been on. I eventually got my own laptop, but I’ve always been sort of a private person, so I never did anything too stupid on there. I usually just played games, and I was rarely on the internet. I think I will probably keep the family computer in the main room, and limit the time that they are allowed on it. I really don’t think kids have any reason to use a computer before they are of school age and actually need it for projects. It freaks me out when I nanny or babysit for people who have three year olds who are addicted to cell phones and computers. Kinda sad.