I'm sure there are responsible kids out there and truthfully, I'd like to think there are a few living in my house, but I'm not taking any chances. I remember curiosity led me to the bad books hidden in the library, introduction to sex by Judy Blume. Truthfully, that was even a bit much for a twelve year old and so, I wonder about life in the day of this thing called social media.
Not just social media, but the internet at large and I worry not just for the kids looking for illicit material, but the children that, more often than not, stumble upon a very adult world when searching for innocent YouTube videos. Yes, maybe you're ahead of the game, parental controls, everything locked down, phone monitoring apps, but what about when your kids go to a friend's house? You can't be big brother every second of the day, at least I can't, so here's what I'm doing.
My children have phones, though not by their definition of the word. Watch phones, through Verizon, that add $5 a month to our plan and give them the ability to call and receive calls from a dozen people. Voila! Suddenly, my tween son was forced to acknowledge it's not a phone that he wanted, but a virtual highway to the internet and I'm telling you, it ain't happenin'. I just care about him too much and the research offers grim findings. Advice from the parents of teenagers? Do not give your child a phone. Wait as long as possible. Well, I'm listening and waiting.
It's not just SnapChat, but fake Instagram accounts and provisions by Facebook and Instagram to send disappearing photos and video. I know I can't keep my children in a bubble forever, but I can use good judgment and my eleven year old (soon to be middle schooler) does not need a hotline to all the world has to offer. I wouldn't drop him off on a seedy city street to wander and so, I'm waiting. I'm waiting until I am comfortable enough to talk about what he may see, find, run into by accident and what folks may ask him to do and why. The watch phone is good right now, perfect for calling me or a friend. Truthfully, I'm sort of old school, a fan of just walking to someone's house and seeing if they're busy. I'm not judging you, I just can't keep quiet.