Social Media: How Does It Work in Your Family?

Posted February 19, 2016 by

Social Media: How Does It Work in Your Family?

When Empowering Parents Coaches sat down to talk about social media and kids, we found we had many different ideas and opinions. It was a lively conversation!

We talked about the right amount of social media use, the language kids use online, acceptable behavior, boundaries, monitoring (or not monitoring) kids’ activity, and so on.

Social media is a concern for parents – a complicated one. And as we talked about it, we were curious.

How do you handle social media in your house?

What works for your family? What isn’t working? How much do you monitor your children? Do you have a social media contract, or family rules? What advice do you have for other families?

Please share your experiences with social media and kids in the comments section below.

We’re excited to hear from you. We hope our readers can learn from – and support – each other on this topic.

Wishing you a great week,

The Empowering Parents Coaching Team

Note: If you are working on technology use at home, this article may give you some good ideas: 10 Steps to Set Your Kids Up With a Healthy Online/Offline Balance.

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When you need guidance through a specific situation, have questions about your program or just need someone to listen when you’re overwhelmed, our professional 1-on-1 Coaches are waiting to help. Each is highly experienced with our range of learning programs and dedicated to personally motivating and supporting you. Learn more about Empowering Parents 1-on-1 Coaching.

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  1. Bewildered grandma Report

    My 12 year old grandson plays computer games with other kids from all over the country.   He didn’t read until he was 10, and was motivated to read so he could learn how to message people on the cell phone, and chat online with the kids playing the games with him.  Honestly I’m not sure he would have pushed himself to read if it wasn’t for the computer and cell phone..   There have been times that things got weird, and we didn’t like the people he was chatting with, so we make sure to supervise him when he’s online.  He is very adept at electronics, catches on to Skype, Facebook etc. much better than I do.  But we have to restrict Facebook to just family, and people we know. There is a lot of toxic posting on Facebook.  It even gets me down after a while with all the phony bragging and showing off.    When he goes to play with other kids in the neighborhood they are all playing video games too.  Their parents worry it’s too much, but end up playing with them.  It;s hard to get kids to be interested in school when they have all this exciting stimulation from gaming and social media.  The schoolwork I did was relevant for 1950, but is hard for kids to relate to times tables when they can just pick up a calculator, and figure it out without memorizing it.  .Is this healthy and good?  Or is it the inevitable wave of he future, and we need education that incorporates it to keep kids engaged in learning?  I don’t know.

    Reply
  2. dianeguslander Report

    I have boys 15 & 16 that both would play games and you tube unlimited if given the chance.  There use depends on having homework finished and assignments turned in timely.  Our house rule is turn in all electronics at 9 during the week and 10 on weekends.  There use depends on having homework finished and assignments turned in timely.  The problems happen when the boys need to use their computers to do their homework in the evening.  They frequently go back and forth between you tube and their assignment; thereby taking forever to do one assignment.  I do use Webwatcher to monitor their computers and iphones; although I only check it if I feel there is misuse going on.  Typically; if I check and see they are not doing homework but playing games instead for an extended period of time; then I take the computers away and tell them no more computer use for the night.  My one son was using facebook, snap chat and instagram a ridiculous amount of time; until I closed it all down a few weeks ago.  He was stressing so much over posts that he was angry most of the time.  My younger son has a facebook account he rarely posts on and doesn’t use the rest of social media.  He was on you tube so much that I finally blocked it.  Jack Septiceye nonstop!  Our school blocks most sites about sex, drugs and alcohol; but lets the kids listen to music when they are studying.  When the boys are doing well in school I am more flexible on their use of electronics; although I do not allow the really violent ones like  COD and Grand Theft Auto.  Right now my youngest is flunking two classes; so I told him he cannot have his phone until I see homework assignments turned in.  It is always a challenge between trying to keep him motivated with rewards and loss of privileges for not coming through with commitments.

    Reply
  3. Tough Parent Report

    Social Media sites are nothing more than places where honesty is not the norm.  Kids can be whoever they want to be.  The sites are full of predators.  Consider how foolish kids are, and I can’t see any reason kids need to be involved with social media.  It’s simply a trap for foolish kids to fall into.  There are enough temptations for kids.  But, social media can lead to self destruction.  Keep your kids away from social media as much as possible.  Use cell phone tools that monitor who your kids text and call.  Keep computers in plain site.  Kids will do everything they can think of to exert their independence.  But, they must understand that parents run the household and set the boundaries.  Not obeying the house rules and disrespecting parents should have the appropriate consequences.  It’s just that simple.

    Reply
  4. Divorced mom Report

    I am honestly very surprised at how many want to lock up, severely restrict usage, and otherwise deny the most ubiquitous device invented (iPhone). I totally agree there is an awful lot of time wasted, whereas in the 70s we used to hang out at the local fast food place, eating crap, smoking and drinking what we shouldn’t have. Worse? Just different, I think. I have worked in high tech for 18 years and it’s not uncommon to have a laptop in use all day long, checking emails on a company-supplied phone for international team meetings, so it would be hypocritical of me to say it’s all bad when I’m using these devices myself. That said, I have had multiple conversations about time management with my 12- and 15- y/o daughters, and priorities. A teen’s first job is to go to school prepared to succeed, and sacrificing study time for screen time is a judgment call. Got a C in geometry? No phone/iPad/laptop until the next quiz/test and I see an improvement. Need to use a computer to submit assignments electronically? I will set up a laptop on the kitchen table (public area). Last call is 10pm, in bed, lights out, no electronics. They push back constantly, often complain, but I find it’s often a more convenient TV screen than any nefarious activity. Added to this is my ex supplies them with the latest version of the phone and doesn’t use the parental controls. Any attempts to get passwords are refused, and repossessing the phone is usually done when they’ve fallen asleep. I wish they would “engage” more with real people, and show some interest in sports. Most of the sports at our high school are for kids who seem to be headed for the pros. The art of conversation, table manners, and entertaining guests is less and less common. Playing kick the can, basketball in the driveway or ping pong is nonexistent in south Orange County (CA), all activities that brought my childhood friends out. The irony is that there is nothing “social” about social media, it’s arms-length transactions with strangers.

    Reply
  5. ShannonA Report

    Both of our children (7 and 9) have their own ipads. They are both locked down to not allow Safari, YouTube or Facebook. I have to install any software on their ipad (need password for it). My son has just discovered Skype and so we are just entering the social struggle.  They can take turns using the laptop in the kitchen (open room so we can hear everything) and almost always play Minecraft or watch utube videos. They have been very good avoiding inappropriate videos, since there is so much that is age appropriate that they like.  Timewise they have little restrictions so far. At grade 1 and 3 there isn’t much for homework or chores.  In general, if they need to be punished for something, they lose screen time (TV, computer, ipad), which they hate.  They never watch TV except when we have family movie night.  As they get older, screen time will become dependent on school work and other activities.  I find that using their ipads for half an hour after school helps them to calm down. Especially my son since he gets overwhelmed easily with all the noise and distractions of school & the bus.

    I will take a look at “Cyber Junkie” – thanks for the suggestion.

    Reply
  6. Cecilia Report

    For our family it is a balancing act. Rather than placing strict rules is that they need to learn how to balance their time between the things they are supposed to be responsible for and the activities they are free to choose (of course this depends on age of children , mine are 10, 12, and 16). For example, during the week it is homework, reading time, sports/clubs, dinner time (with family), practicing instruments. Only after these things are completed they get to play on Xbox or whatever they choose. Naturally the children do not often have time to play during the week not because they’re not allowed to but because they have other responsibilities.
    Our sixteen year old daughter is another story. A good deal of schoolwork requires the computer. She is pretty much a responsible and mature individual and aware of online predators. She is on her phone constantly and we remind her and her brothers that when they are in front of a person (especially family) they are to “be” with that person/people that means phones away. At a ski vacation we were at dinner and was happy to see that our daughter led the way to tell everyone at the table to put their phones in a pile at the table so we can “be” with each other.
    On the weekends they are expected to help with laundry, cleaning (got rid of cleaning ladies), additional schoolwork if any and the sports or activities they are involved in. I find that free time is when electronics can become excessive and this is when supervision and limiting of their time should be done.
    Many Saturday nights are spent getting cozy under the blankets watching a movie with the kids.
    Also I remind myself that devices and computers are vital in today’s world, surgeons use screens and joysticks to navigate surgery, in military , education, researchers and virtually all professional fields use electronic systems so our kids need to learn how to use them so having a healthy attitude towards “devices” and not making it the enemy is a good way to go.

    Reply
  7. Amy Report

    A valuable book for those struggling is “Cyber Junkie” by kevin roberts. my son read it and it got his attention.

    This year our school district gave every student their own chromebook. I can tell from looking at his online history that he watches his favorite youtube and other website clips and plays his favorite online games between 20 to 50 times a day — AT SCHOOL. As a teacher, I know that if you are going to use electronics in the classroom, you really can’t keep kids from clicking over to something else. I am frustrated and discouraged that the school district has enabled my son and others to develop and maintain this habit, which I think is very detrimental to focus and concentration. If he were a good student, that would be one thing, but he’s not. And how can boring subjects like history and math compete with pokeymon or whatever? I am looking into downloading a blocking extension to run in incognito mode that would block his favorite sights. But it’s very complicated, difficult to keep ahead of, the school district doesn’t really want us downloading a bunch of filters they haven’t approved, and we would rather not get involved in what happens at school — but when I asked about this issue when we first received the chrome books, they said “we’re working on it.” haven’t heard anything since. So this is our latest trial.

    At home, we have all electronics locked in a trunk. If our son (16 years old, last report card F,D,CCC — and he’s smart) does his homework, then he can have access in the evenings for whatever time is left until 8:30. This is something new we’ve started since before we just took away all electronics until the grades came up, but he just gave up on school work entirely and concentrated on ways to outwit us with the electronics blocking. Which he did. He figured out all our passwords and hid from us that he was actually gaming on his phone when we thought it was all blocked. It is really hard to keep ahead of teenagers on this.

    In elementary school, we allowed between 30 minutes to an hour a day, and it really did not seem like a bit deal. Things changed in middle school/high school. It’s what his friends are into.

    Reply
  8. Harold_J Report

    I have a 13 year old boy with special needs. One of his diagnoses is Nonverbal Learning Disorder.  I use a Cisco WiFi router that gives me the power to turn off or limit access as needed or I see fit.  I do not allow any social media.  He will not get a cell phone until he can work and pay for it.  I try my best to be understanding but try to limit games to those not depicting the killing of people.  I am not concerned with tanks or robots or the like.  The largest area of concern for my wife and I is his music choices online.  Software can block some things but none exist for the terrible lyrics of rap.  I can block music as a whole but I hate to do that.  It is an uphill battle to constantly monitor all the devices he has access too.  I believe that a child who has diagnosed communication issues has no place in social media until he/she can properly communicate without technology.  I am told school is a whole new free zone for all restricted kids because their friends share all the terrible stuff on unrestricted iPhones and tablets.

    Reply
  9. Angie Report

    My eldest son was allowed an FB account at 13+ after friends from out of town whom he’d made at a camp & Model UN asked to connect. He signed up on my phone so i had access to it. He owns no gadgets of his own, save the shared PC in the dining room. He was overexcited initially. Trying to be funny, he made some rude comments to his cousin & was promptly scolded. It happened abt 3 times & he appears to understand better now.
    Another concern was the terribly foul language & descriptions his school friends were making online. When i got to know from a fellow parent & asked my son about it, he was aware & had told another friend to “cool with the language.” Thought that was a good way to speak up without appearing like a prude to his friends. I was thankful & believed that the Christian youth camps helped, besides our emphasis on walking the talk.
    About a year on, i have no more access to his FB as he gets to use dad’s old phone with a different password. I’m still not sure if that’s good.
    Our 2nd child will be 13 soon but we’ve told him that he might or might not get the same privileges depending on whether he’s ready. All 3 kids get a half hour of computer games on Friday in the dining room. On Sundays, if they’re on time getting ready for church in the morning, daddy gives them another half hour each on the ipad.
    We’re still trying to figure out as we go along & reading about it certainly helps. Therefore thank you.

    Reply
  10. snowbirdkaren Report

    Our 15 year old son has an iPhone which we monitor regularly. He is not allowed to bring his phone into any bathrooms or bedrooms. Also, he has to be off his phone by 9:30 pm on school nights. We know his access code and sporadically read his texts. We have a parental monitoring program called uKnowKids installed which sends me alerts about questionable language and activities. It has the capacity to monitor various social media but I haven’t figured out how to use that part of their program. My son does not have FB and doesn’t want it. He does have Instagram and (unfortunately) snapchat, which uKnowKids does not monitor. When I notice issues in his texting I use it as a teaching time instead of a you’re-in-trouble time. He seems responsive to that approach. Through settings I have enabled restrictions on his phone. I turned off Safari and have allowed only certain websites – ones he has specifically requested. I also turned off FaceTime and the ability to install or delete apps. He likes two games to which he has become addicted. We made a rule that if any of his grades fall below 80 we would take off the games and SM. Without any effort he seems to keep his grades in the low 80’s and then spends 20-30 hours per week on the phone. We have decide to raise the bar. Starting two days ago he only gets his phone in the evenings if he is above 85 in every class and he only gets games/SM if he is over 90. (He still gets it during the school day.) The games and SM are powerful motivators for him and we are hoping the new standards will prod him to put some effort into his academics. We do have a desk top computer that he uses for school and some internet surfing. We keep it locked at all times so that he has to ask permission to use it. It is out in the open and had content barrier software installed. W have a long way to go and it’s hard to keep ahead of these tech savvy and deceitful kids, but we do our best. I am SO SO thankful for Total Tranformation. How I wish I had used them when my other kids were still at home.

    Reply
  11. Emily Report

    In our home I purposely keep only one television, located in the main living room, and this is the only place where DVDs and games can be played (Netflix and YouTube are accessed through the Wii). The kids, two boys age 7 and 12, do not have their own laptops, and use of a computer is done in the kitchen only, with me typing in the windows password before they can use it, and I allow this only for doing homework. They don’t have cell phones or ipods/ipads or devices that connect them to the internet. I have strict time uses for access to the Wii, be it offline or online, and if homework, chores don’t get done on time, this access is removed. I can also very easily block the Wii’s access to the internet by its IP address to ensure that the kids can’t access it when I remove this as a consequence. Since access to the Wii happens on the only screen in the house, any game either of the boys bring home has to be shared, and one child can’t play on the Wii and not let the other on by saying it’s their game – putting it on means being prepared to share, I don’t care whose it is. For daytime access on weekends the kids can have turns where they choose what they want to do on the Wii, be it play a game, go on Netflix, ect., but in the evening only something everyone can agree on goes, and if there is a fuss about it, it gets turned off. This is because I feel that the evenings are really a time to be shared together as a family, and not singly in front of a screen on their own. As for the kinds of games I allow, only games rated general, and at my discretion, games rated PG. This means that when the older child brought home Batman, he had to return it. The same rating idea goes for movies as well. I have to find a better way to restrict inappropriate content that can be viewed on YouTube though and this is my only main issue with the kids having access to the internet through the Wii. There is so much inappropriate content that passes filters on YouTube and I tend to over block the IP address of the Wii when the 12 year old is home alone mainly because I don’t want him on YouTube.

    Reply
  12. Saisabi Report

    Hi my kids are still small, one is 8 and one is 4. But both are so obssessed with ipads an youtube. Once youtube is opened in tv they both stick in sofa and become like statue. So what I did is no TV, no ipad nothing in weekdays. After school they must do physical activity. They have been following this since 2 month and working great.
    In weekend also cant see anything before breakfast.

    Reply
  13. Miriam Report

    Teen is 17 – any technology time is limited to the family room.  Phone and laptop cannot be used anywhere else.  I have access to all his passwords and he knows that I look through history, texts, apps, etc.  any time I would like.  He’s not allowed to have snap chat and luckily he isn’t interested in social media.  He does like to play a game called League of Legends which is interactive – but it is limited to his friends from school.  There’s also a time limit set per night and if there’s homework or tests that comes first.

    Reply
  14. Lyn Perks Report

    I don;t monitor my kids’ use at all except that my son’s computer is in the kitchen where I spend most of my time.  My kids are 13 1/2 boy and 16 girl.

    Reply
  15. Alison Report

    None of our family, Mom, Dad, Big Brother, OR Little Sister are using any type of social media except Instagram on occasion.  We do not sit around and play with our phones.  I have always insisted on my children heading outside for activities that prevent the use of such devices.  We fish, ride dirt bikes and four-wheelers, visit our pond, and interact with our animals.  We are extremely lucky in that we have the opportunity to do these kinds of things instead of resorting to technology for our entertainment.  We live out in the country, and love it!  I do have somewhat of a sympathy for folks who either do not have that opportunity, or do not consider it a blessing.  I also know that even those who may consider it a blessing, may not be able to live like that.  It is they who will encounter the most struggles with this problem.  BUT, I’m sure there must be outdoor clubs, hiking locations, and other such outdoor settings that may be enjoyed.  My advice is to take advantage of all that is there.

    Reply
  16. Julianne Taylor Report

    Nothing in the bedrooms – no computers, no phones at night, no TV’s or screen games. Screens – light used in the evening interferes with sleep for both adults and kids. Sleep deficiency makes kids act like they have ADHD. 
    We use kids watch on the computers the kids use. They have their own login. You can set filtering of nasty sites to their age-group and monitor what is going on with this programme. It monitors chat and send alerts for swearing and potential grooming by paedophiles, as it sees patterns in words and sends scripts of the conversations. Kids wipe so many converstations and history on the computer you just don’t know what is going on. You can set also time limits and block programmes with Kidswatch. The kids have separate logins for fun (gaming) and homework (facebook, games etc blocked).
    Using fun computer time is a privileged and only if they play by house rules.
    No TV at all on school nights (Monday to Thursday) No TV on other nights before 5pm. We never eat in front of the TV, family dinners only, except for occasional take-out nights. 
    My kids are now 17 and 19 and have both left school. They still have no screens in their rooms. We do allow them to keep their phones with them since they were 17. They both have them on silent and we haven’t seen them keeping up at night. If they do it’s their problem, as they are both working / or at tertiary education.
    We still restrict computer access if they don’t play by the rules. At the moment my son likes to disappear and get up to mischief on a regular basis, so he gets none unless for his study. The computers are desk tops in a public space. 
    It is not easy with strong minded oppositional kids who have bought their own phones. 
    Education and talking about the risks and the nasty world out there is critical, they have to deal with stuff themselves, and know the worst case scenarios, and how to keep themselves safe.

    Reply
  17. Ksmilie69 Report

    Fortunately my 13 year old son does not like to deal with drama so he pretty much stays away from social media. He has a Facebook but rarely utilizes it. He plays his PS 4 and chats only with a very limited number of people while playing. I am very fortunate that he has enough sense to handle himself correctly for the most part. Every rare once in a while something is caught and we discuss it.

    My 9 year old daughter has parental controls on the computer and is only allowed to use my Facebook to play some of the games. She has a tablet and knows what she is or is not allowed to use. If she is not sure, she asks.

    I am truly blessed to have responsible children when it comes to social media. I wish this was true in all areas but it shall come.

    Reply
  18. fr3edom21 Report

    Where do I start?

    About a year ago, we discovered that our 12 year old daughter was being cyber-bullied by some of her classmates because she refused to go out with a “popular” kid. The kid’s friends got really upset at her because she said “no” to their friend. The cyber-bullying was a constant 24/7 torment to our daughter. Because of this, some of her friends suggested that she could start “cutting/harming” herself to take her mind off the bullying. Well, that’s what she did. She started cutting her arms and she was good a covering scars from our view with bracelets, long sleeves, etc. 
    All this was happening while we were monitoring her phone calls and texts, but we were not aware that she was using Instagram’s Direct Message feature to communicate with her friends in a one-on-one basis and to a group of friends. This was done so we (we were following her on Instagram) wouldn’t find out what was happening to her because she was ashamed of what she was doing to her own body to cope with her problems.
    She even had over 600 followers on Instagram. People that she had never met before. When asked about this, her answer was that all kids at school have over 1,000 followers and you were considered “lame” if you had under 500!
    All this happened even after we had several conversations about bullying, social media stuff, etc.
    One day when I discovered her scars on her arms, all hell broke lose at home. She got into defensive mode and she wouldn’t talk to us about it. We took away her cell phone away and she was in constant watch by us (luckily this happened during school vacation), The only privacy she was left with was while changing clothes and using the restroom.
    We contacted a therapist and with her help she slowing started to open up to us again and finally she told us what was happening at her school.
    When we asked her why she didn’t go to us for help? Her answer was: What had you done if I had told you this? Go to my school and yell at them for not doing nothing after I told them what was happening to me? If you had done this, now I would had been in a worst situation, by being the school’s snitch!
    Apparently she told her counselor about the bullying when she was called to his office because some kids told him about her cuts on her arms. The counselor NEVER contacted us about this, citing “privacy” laws, can you believe this? 

    Is almost a year since this happened her and I’m happy to tell you that we got our daughter back. She’s back being the usual happy kid and she now interacts with our family much more than before. We watch TV together, enjoy having dinner and going out with us.

    Believe me parents, this is a nightmare you don’t want to find yourselves into. He went to hell and back to get our daughter out of that dark place.

    Fr3edom21.

    Reply
  19. Lis Report

    After our son seriously crossed the line, we got serious. We had verbal rules before which hr mostly followed, but he really violated our trust. So we finally bought protection software for his phone. He is 16. We can see his location, texts, etc. He is NOT allowed Snap chat and other messaging apps but he has been doing it anyway. And I think at this point I’d rather just not know what he was doing with it and move on. Certain apps allow you to lock the child out of the device and block apps. I think it’s necessary honestly. I don’t have any passwords, though I have thought about it. We have told him we will check his texts and instagram occasionally. But we were seriously surprised by our son and didn’t see all this drama coming. So I would really recommend every parent have a GOOD parental control app and use its features as needed. Not all kids need their textensive messages monitored all the time, etc but it’s there is you do I would then set their limits based in the trust they have earned.

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  20. stillonthewheel Report

    I have been diligent to be involved with my children’s (read girl’s) internet use and was a gate keeper for them to get on Facebook. My youngest is 16. I have spent a lot of time parenting since the early days. I have stayed in the trenches with them and have told them my stories, some they didn’t want to hear. I think this is important. We need to spend time, as any of you who follow this site know. My mantra has always been, “My job is to cause you enough pain to help you be the right kind of people.” If you come to the game later, I don’t have a B plan. I have basically just observed and counseled or corrected if their behavior was out of line. I let them know the reasons for my choices and why certain people should be unfriended. I believe one of my main jobs now is to teach my children to discipline themselves. I don’t want them dependent on me to keep them straight as they will soon be on their own. I have a great track record. Three of four out of the nest and all keeping themselves free of ‘pollution’. Mistakes are essential to developing life skills. They need to see how to recover from missteps as well as keeping themselves safe. I had a ooops at work several years ago and the easiest way to deliver myself was to turn off my computer. They have all heard this story. Unless we share our embarrassing mistakes our children are destined to repeat them. Every child is different and I have given each of them instruction and guidance. Early on, I was watching them as they participated in social media, later I checked in, but I had developed trust with them so they can tell me if something went wrong. As they grow, I have to release them to their own conscience. Social media is everything now. My youngest has a regular thing with others all over the country on Tuesday evening. They are playing a game and chatting. They can get together on Minecraft or anywhere. It isn’t only facebook.

    Reply
  21. JenRose1 Report

    I have a strict policy of anything that can connect to the internet—-computer, laptop, phone, kindle, ipod——does not go into the bedrooms of the boys.  They each have their own bedroom now, ages 11, 11, and 13.  All three have ‘stations’ in the living area of our home—ranch style with basement.  No televisions in the bedrooms, or dvd players.  Music in the bedrooms would come from clock radio because I don’t allow any ipods or such in the bedrooms.  Everything is done in the living room as per wifi or internet for the kids.  My husband and I have an office in one of the bedrooms of the house, strictly our office as we own and manage apartment complexes, and this is where we work.  Time limits are given, and if grades are not where they are supposed to be, and work not up to ability on school work, then internet usage is locked for that person—–changing a wifi password is easy enough to keep them honest.  I feel that my husband and I are the parents, they are the children, and any email they have I will know, any password, I will know, any accounts with school, I will know the password.  There is no facebook for them, no twitter, no snapchat.  I do allow them to play some older rated games because of the huge interest in tanks, airplanes, history, social studies, geography, submarines, WWII, Vietnam, and others.  So many games are now very detailed and for military minded children at their ages, this feeds them knowledge in addition to the knowledge of things they already searched and learned about.  I’m not allowing the GTR or sim games where killing, heroin dealing, drunk driving, prostituting is portrayed, and yes, that is out there, hidden in plain sight.  If you don’t play the games—–don’t let them—–I don’t mean you have to play them all the time, I mean watch what they are doing—–listen to what they are saying, and what they hear others saying.  If you spend time paying attention to that, you will know what is right and what isn’t right fairly quickly.  I let my oldest son try XBOX live…….only for him to have one of his school friends ‘steal his loot and spend it’……and he learned fast how quickly people aren’t who you think they might be, and how ugly they can behave online when they think they can get away with it.  So, no xbox live in our house.
    We are the adults, We are the parents, We make the rules, not the children, and you must stick with the rules because they will play you for a sucker the minute they see signs of weakness—–spoken from a mother of twin boys 11, and a boy 13.

    Reply
  22. 1007 Report

    I would love to hear more from parents of teens ages 15 + The game changes then, yes when my daughter was 12yrs old she got her first dumb phone we all signed a phone use contract with phone ” curfew.” We had safety settings and I would periodically check her texts . Fast forward 4 yrs and she has a smart phone, we attended cyber bullying seminars together , talked about acceptable language and how nothing is private on SM. But she is out of the house with school and sports and friends , I have much less control than when she was 12 and she is more deceptive using snap chat so I cannot see her texts . She tajkes photos in class of assignment dates and notes and often writes essays on her phone . She is attached to her phone and has had some negative consequences despite all of our efforts. Kids and teens lack the maturity necessary and parents cannot monitor them enough .

    Reply
    • HeidiPhinneyDorman Report

      1007 I have a 16-year-old. He has high-functioning autism and ADHD. He does have a phone (one I used to have). It doesn’t have any apps or games. I keep track of his texts and calls with Verizon Family Base. At home, we have two laptops. One we keep on the kitchen table. The other is a chromebook that is moved from room to room. I pop in where he is unannounced to check his usage (used to have a problem with porn; not anymore). I check history randomly. He does have a Facebook account, but rarely goes on it. He doesn’t go incognito because I will call him out. When we are home (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), we shut off all electronics at 8:00 p.m. and have family time, usually chess or Sorry!. Rarely, we will play Wii Bowling or something like that that he likes.

      Reply
  23. elle Report

    No social media. Not even for ourselves. Well, my husband and I each have an e-mail account. Any perceived benefit is so completely overshadowed by the negatives that we “don’t go there”. It’s something we talk about from the time they are young so they know where we stand. The computer is in the kitchen so any use (educational) is constantly monitored.

    Reply
  24. cmandkt Report

    Agree entirely with vandynegl. We have two boys 8 and 9. It is enough already to try to temper or limit the extent to which they want to play on the Wii or use standalone games on our tablets/phones. So far we have had no call to have them use the internet except for protected school homework sites. We could allow them and find safe ways for them to interact with friends through online gaming, but so far have not done so. So far there is no evidence of peer pressure and we are happy to keep it as we are for as long as possible. They are not short of other things to be busy with. If they want to spend their own money on something through ordering online, for example, then we include them in seeing that process through. We let them carry out supervised research for their own curiosity or for homework purposes. Through school activities and this kind of thing at home, they are not strangers to how the internet works, but they sure are protected from strangers and strange things for now. At bedtimes we sometimes replace reading with watching some content on websites like “the daily epic”.

    Reply
  25. LJR1 Report

    We have 3 kids 14, 12, and 10.  Here are the rules:
    – All electronic are on the kitchen counter  5:30-9:30 each night.  Older kids can use the phone 9:30-10:0.
    – All phones are downstairs  in the kitchen for the night  at 10:00
    – Computer for the kids is in a centralized location  (near the kitchen i.e. near me)
    – I have all password. If a password is changed, I know about it.  If I don’t the electronic is lost for a week.
    – My husband and I review the contents of the phone.  If we don’t like something, we have  a “chat”
    – Here’s what i tell them. “It’s not your phone, it’s mine and you are borrowing it.”

    Of course we are the “worst parents in the world with the worst rules…” blah, blah, blah and my reply is typically, “That’s fine.. Make sure the phone is down by 5:30.”  and I walk away.

    Reply
    • Frances Mo Report

      LJR1 of course you can’t make your children hand in their phones…apparently I’m the only parent EVER to expect their 15 year old to hand in his phone at bed time! However, I have had a difficult time of enforcing this rule through the years. but I feel parents who don’t.,  are generally sticking their heads in the sand.  These devices were not available to us when we were irrational teens, so our mistakes were not so risky or at least recorded.  We have had reason to have ‘chats’ with our boys re use of phones.  I’m afraid I am not a parent who feels that ignorance is bliss- too many children, no matter how sensible or ‘good’ they are, can make BIG mistakes that impact on their mental health- even lives have been lost over the trouble that teens can get into.  However- such a difficult issue when parenting teens.  Can’t wait til this stage has moved on!

      Reply
      • LJR1 Report

        Frances Mo LJR1
        I have run into that problem before. If the phone is not downstairs the first strike is  loss for the  next day.  If it happens again, I cut off the service for an unspecified amount of time.  
        Since this has already been explained, I will not give another “warning.” I will just cut it off. … And they all know that I will.  I have not had to do that.

        Reply
  26. vandynegl Report

    We don’t have internet at our house, but I can use my phone as a hotspot to get online.  We do educational websites only right now.  My oldest is almost 9.  They are a little bit interested in cell phones, but when the time comes for them to “earn” one, it will be only to text.  There is no need to have access to internet on their phone.  They can get to internet at school.  I am not on Facebook or any other social media sites, so they don’t see any of that right now.  I’m sure I will hear more about it as they  get older, but I plan to continue with my rules.  Some children even at 14 or 16 are still immature and they need those rules from us.  I feel being a good model to them guides them in the right direction.

    Reply
  27. Single Mom Report

    I have two children 20 and 14. Rules have been the same for both of them.My son has a dumb phone and won’t get a smart phone until he can pay for it. I daughter didn’t get one until after high school and a CNA job. As long as my son is getting A’s and B’s in school he can get on the computer. If he drops to D’s and F’s the computer is taken away until all grades are brought back up. He is off the computer by 8 every night. This seems to work really well. He’s not huge on social media. He has a facebook account but is rarely on it. I believe that we had rules growing up and our children should have rules also.

    Reply
  28. Mom Report

    It is a scary world.  I have an 18 year old, a 16 year old, and a 13 year old. Safety HAS to trump ‘privacy’.   I came close to losing my 13-year-old to a pedophile posing as a 14-year-old boy on Kik six months ago.  We are careful middle class family and I’m a stay at home mom.  It CAN happen to anyone.   After courting her for a couple of months on Kik, he was asking her to sneak out of the house to meet him and “no one needs to know”.   (this was on her ipod mind you, not a cell phone).  She was a good sweet girl, no trouble.  We had all the safety social
    media talks many many times before that.  We thought we were safe.  They were planning on meeting.  I never knew, until I opened her door one night and she quickly put her ipod under her pillow.  I almost fainted.  He said she was beautiful and was falling in love with her.   Long story short, after investigative work – he was a 40 year old pedophile and we likely would have never seen her again.  

    Don’t think it can’t happen to you.  

    Our rules are parents know passwords.   We are allowed to look at devices any time (we rarely do – but will on occasion).   NO DEVICES IN THE BEDROOM OR BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.    We don’t allow instagram, etc.  No need to talk to strangers – and they can text their friends if they need.  My kids are not suffering socially, and, if anything, are I believe much better adjusted.   And they are a pleasure to be around, both with family and with their own friends, because they aren’t constantly staring at a screen in their hand.  They go outdoors, they contact friends.  They have hobbies and interests and passions I believe because of this incident and our not allowing the social media.

    And their self-worth isn’t on the screen – it’s in their own passions, interests, friends, being with others.

    Reply
    • Frances Mo Report

      @Mom I really agree with you- no one should think it won’t happen to their children.  Teenage brains hugely affect them from the sweet pre teen they were to the maturing young person they will emerge as.  The middle ground is a difficult one, they won’t always share everything with you, and they WILL make mistakes which they will later be embarrassed about.  My kids truly are good kids, but we have had so many difficult times- internet access has definitely enhanced any issues to be fair.  But it is silly to try to ban them altogether- we have to continue to try to be open with communication and encourage them to be vigilant and RESPONSIBLE.  Phew- not easy.

      Reply
  29. concernedmom Report

    I truly believe that social media and all the video games are destroying this generation!  When the kids are constantly texting and viewing social media, it promotes lack of focus and concentration.  Most people think of this as multi tasking, but it actually creates an atmosphere where these kids are constantly minding other people’s business, judging other people and just being nosy.  When they are “trained” to be “entertained” every spare minute of their life, they cannot focus during school time or quiet time because they are jumping out of their skin looking for entertainment.  People are texting and driving, texting at red lights…seriously, people!  Most of the things being taken care of at this time are not important at all.  That is another issue!  No one understands anymore what is important and what can wait.  We have become a generation of instant gratification and a generation of people who cannot wait or have patience for anything.  

    Video games are just as bad!  Most of our kids don’t even know how to play a board game or card games and don’t even play outside anymore.  They can’t play a video game by themselves without wanting to chat online with other players.  

    I only gave my kids cell phones once they started driving and then the texting and social media took over their lives.  They were never the same after.  I’ve taken away my daughter’s cell phone away and actually watched her go through withdrawals for days at a time.  Finally, after about five days, she is able to act like a normal, polite child and actually take part in our family.  My older kids don’t live at home anymore but they can’t sit with our family to even watch a movie without texting and checking social media at the same time.  I was more strict with the phone usage than any of their friend’s parents so that presented a problem as well.  I will definitely have different rules once my youngest one starts driving.  I will take his phone at the door when he gets home.  He will not be walking around with it like an appendage.  

    Parents need to understand that this is a huge problem and parents are perpetuating the destruction of an entire generation.  It is an actual addiction and parents are allowing this to happen!  Kids have access to the internet on their phones and cannot handle what is out there.  More and more kids are becoming sexually aware at younger ages, sexting, online bullying, etc.  Kids simply cannot handle what is available to them on the internet and parents cannot fully monitor everything they do.  

    This generation is having more problems with bullying and mental instability and I believe it is mostly attributed to parents trying to be their kid’s friends, not allowing them to experience some pleasantries in life and just coddling them way too much.  The social media and video games is only perpetuating the problem!  What was the one thing in common with all of these school shooters, they stayed holed up in their rooms playing video games shooting people for hours on end.  

    My 12 year old actually had a friend sleep over this past weekend who packed his X Box.  When he asked for our wifi password, I told him that I really didn’t like those kind of games and asked them to play with the games we had.  He actually texted his parents to go home early.  We learned a lesson not to invite that child over again or have my kid go to his house.  Now, these are good, respectable parents that I’ve known for a while and felt that I could trust with my child.  

    I know I may sound a little sever, but this thing is just getting out of hand.  I am a teacher and I am seeing much more incidents of mental instability, children who cannot handle any type of conflict or pressure, kids with horrible social anxiety, depression, etc.  This isn’t going to get better until the coddling stops and these kids are shielded from social media and video games that they are not emotionally capable of handling or socially mature enough to handle.  Wake up parents and be the parent!  Stop teaching your kids to be nosy and judgmental!

    Reply
  30. momofartist Report

    I agree with what ‘CoachMom’ in her post. Children emulate what they see. As parents, it’s our responsibility to make our best attempts to be positive role models and find healthy ways to relieve stress and balance obligations. I have a young son who just turned 8 years old. No cell phone yet, but I’m starting to think about what age is appropriate for that…10 years old, 12 years old? He has already started asking for one. I also like the suggestion of the ‘The Big Disconnect’ book below. That will help me navigate cell phone, etc. choices as my son gets older. For right now, he has limited homework that he does on the computer. He also needs to complete his homework before he is allowed to use electronic devices such as an IPad. Know your child’s limitations. Our son has problems when he is overstimulated or does something for too long (an hour is too long for most things).  Establishing consequences early to help with getting the responses and behavior you want to see is beneficial. My child responds favorably when he finds out he has to give up his football for a day. As children age, the consequences change. What works now may not work in 6 months or next year. The same goes for technology because everything changes so quickly. Another concern that I didn’t see talked about is identity theft. It can happen on Facebook, it can happen with their Social Security card, etc. As children get older, it’s also a good idea to make them aware of how sacred their identity is; not just the pictures and words they post, but also private and confidential information. Their very being should be treated with respect and discipline and that means not sharing any of these sacred and private things with others – even people they think are friends. They need to treat financial and identity information with the same respect as their bodies, their words and their relationships. Moderation is key. It’s also beneficial to talk with children about a cooling off period. Bad things happen every day. Unfortunately, our children are not immune from bad things in life happening to them. Talking with your children during dinner together or at the end of the day to sort through the days occurrences is very beneficial. Talking about how to fix the problem and helping them identify solutions to their problems helps you be a consultant rather a dictator with your child, along the same lines as what’s stated in the post from ‘OlderMom’.

    Reply
  31. jolieap Report

    My daughter is 12 and my son is 10. My 10 year old is not interested in social media at this time. My daughter has asked to sign up for accounts with Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This started almost immediately when she got her phone at the beginning of middle school. I agree, that it is very, very important that we monitor my daughters use of her mobile. However, it is a difficult balance because we also believe in respecting her privacy. Therefore, at this time we have said no to all the requested social media sites. I am not sure if Youtube is considered social media, but my daughter follows many “vlogs” and I must admit we do not monitor that as much as we should. I have noticed changes in my daughter, but I attribute that to pre/pubescent behaviors. I think at this point, we will allow her to have an Instagram account as long as she agrees to allow us to monitor. It is a scary world out there. Even for adults. And I will continue to believe “it takes a village.” Stay safe, my friends.

    Reply
    • fr3edom21 Report

      jolie123 About Instangram, please be aware that Instagram has a “feature” call Direct Message, this allows the user to send private direct messages to one person or a group.
      So even if you ‘friend’ your kid thinking that you’ll be able to see what she/he posts on Instagram, you’re wrong.
      Most of the times kids just use Instagram to DM because there’s no trace and most parents are clueless about this.
      The DM feature is where the action happens.

      Fr3edom21.

      Reply
  32. Concerned Father Report

    Hi, I understand as parents you want your kids to have friends. You want your kids to fit in and not feel like they are outsiders because they don’t have the latest gadget. We as parents can’t judge our kids by what we want for them. We need to understand what maturity level they are at. I have three boys and one girl. From 13 to 6. My wife and I have decided that social media is not in our kids future no matter what their friends do. There are adults who can’t handle social media responsibly. We let out kids have a phone when needed but not to carry every where they go. We let our kids have tablets but they stay home. This may seem harsh and we have talked to them about our decision. They know that when they are eighteen they will have to make their own choices. We hope that by then we have given them all the confidence to be their own person and not follow the crowd. Some may think that we are smothering them or hiding them from the world, I tell you we have regular talks about this would and the dangers of this world. We have been honest with our kids about what this world has to offer and how they will have to navigate it wisely. We let our kids go out with school groups and other groups of kids but we always ask what happen. What they did, where they went. As mentioned before, parents need to spend time with their kids so that the parents are the biggest influence not the outside world. We try to play board games, talk about their day. I think electronics and social media should be only used in small increments, not the whole day.
    Thank you,

    Reply
  33. Brault Report

    I don’t allow my child to use social media at home. In fact, I don’t allow him access to the internet at all. He gets all the access and supervision he needs at school.

    Reply
  34. OlderMom Report

    My son has a cell phone – I do not. I check his text messaging pretty much every morning, but he has gotten smart and now uses things like Instagram and Snap Chat to talk to his friends which have little experience with. My son is 16 and much more tech savvy than I am, as far as cell phones, but I look up everything on the internet to see step by step how to read history and see what he is doing. It is slow going, but I am getting the hang of it – that is until he finds a new service to start using. He never really has anything horrendously bad on there that I have been able to find, but I will keep plugging along to try to make sure that he is safe and not doing things that would embarrass him later on when he wants to go to college or get a great job! At first he thought I was invading his privacy, but my favorite motto is that kids have parents until they are adults because they can’t always make good choices and need some guidance. I don’t go ballistic when I don’t agree with something that is on there, but try to keep calm and discuss with him why it might not be a good thing. Luckily, so far, he has been open to my advice.

    Reply
  35. Robin Report

    Reading the book ‘The Big Disconnect, protecting Childhood and family relationships in the digital age’ by Katherine Steiner-Adair, EdD
    Is a very helpful guide and tool

    Reply
  36. CoachMom Report

    I am a stay home mother of 3- for the most part. I work part-time from home- but I also coach. Most of my players are middle school girls and elementary boy and girls, and as a coach I am privy to conversations that parents do not hear. Parents, start early by setting your expectations! Set good examples for your children! Mom, how do you dress and are you obsessed about your weight? Dads, do you treat your wife, your daughters other women with respect? Girls are brutal with the body-shaming and bullying and much of that communication is via text. A great rule I have heard is no phone at bedtime i.e. phones stay on the kitchen counter at night- bad things happen after dark. I talk to my players a lot about the photos. As a coach I set expectations for my athletes. No photos can be taken if it isn’t a photo you can show to me or your parents. I also think that parents need to be available for conversations and need to constantly stay interested in their children’s lives! I am shocked at the parents who brush off their pre-teens! Be a safe harbor for your children and be involved in their lives! Be home, be available, be around, show-up to games, show up to their jobs when they are working, stop in and chat when they have friends over. If you are a constant in their lives and role-modeling the behavior you want them to exhibit at the very least you will know when/if things start to go downhill.

    Reply
  37. Annabelle Report

    Cell phones & ipad only on weekend. Video games on weekends or rainy days AFTER homework is complete only until dinnertime. Video games and computer screen are always in my full view. Computer is more difficult to monitor and is rarely allowed. My child will be 9 in April and is very athletic.

    Reply
  38. Dee Report

    I am a parent of a 17 yr old girl at home with two adult sons living on their own.  I am also a Social Worker that works in a elementary building of K – 4th graders (around 530 students).  My daughter and I were actually talking about this in the car to school just this morning.  Some of the students are obsessed with their video games.  If they have the chance to talk to any adult about anything, it WILL be about what level they are on, the difficulties a certain level is giving them, etc.  I know of a few students whom I work with regularly, struggle to talk about anything else, even in a one-on-one setting with me completing a fun (social/emotional/behavioral) activity. Games and general social media conversation can be assuming even in our home at times.  We live in the country with limited cell phone usage, therefore the computer is the main venue for games and social media conversation.  There are times we need to monitor this usage with our daughter (and ourselves) because it limits face to face conversations.  Some of the best conversations I have with my daughter is in the car going to school (25 min. ride).  I wouldn’t trade those times for anything, for they keep our relationship active and actually quite close.  So, I have two pieces of advise for other parents.  Limit video game usage (30 – 60 min. a day) depending on how much other media-type “fun” is allowed and how much other responsibilities such as homework, chores, etc. are in their schedule.  The other piece of advise is to take advantage of your “car time” with your children.  I know tablets are fun and an easy way to keep your children happy and content while driving, although what a great opportunity for you to have meaningful conversation with your children about their likes / dislikes, good news / bad news from the day, etc.  Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Frances Mo Report

      @Dee Yes- car time is definitely the best way to discuss trickier issues with your child- mine have really been much more open during this time- I am not invading their space and not expecting them to sit still in the lounge to have a ‘serious talk’

      Reply
  39. Q Report

    My 14 year old daughter has a phone. We monitor her actual phone, are friends with her on FB, Instagram, Snapchat, etc so we see what she is posting. We have family discussions about the dangers of social media. We discuss current events that pertain to real life examples that were the product of social media. We remind our daughter that having a phone is a privilege and comes with responsibility. We half jokingly tell her she has a phone for our convenience, but it is true. We also subscribe to Webwatcher. You simply install the software on their phone and you can monitor their texts, Instagram pictures, websites they visit, etc. It’s a nice extra to assure parents your teenager is doing what they are supposed to do.

    Reply
  40. Mom5 Report

    We have 3 teenagers and realize that sm is part of out world today. It can be used for good and bad. We feel that our teenagers are not yet emotionally mature to be 100% in control of their phones. We have their passwords and access to their phones at any time. We monitor the apps they use and their texts. We also regulate how much time they spend on their phones during their down time.
    With 3 teenagers (and 5 kids in all) it sometimes becomes difficult to remember to monitor sm for them. It works best if we develop a routine and rules that they become accustomed to. They fight back at first with each new rule we implement, but in a short time and with open, honest discussion, they understand and agree with the rule. They know that phones are plugged in outside of their bedrooms at 10 pm so they don’t have access to them at night. We also have a tech free day every Sunday when they have a break and can focus on other more important things.
    It’s a difficult thing, but these are our kids and it is their safety and future that we are protecting. Sm is never more important than that.

    Reply
  41. Joshua Report

    We allow our 10 year old boy to use Pinterest with an alias and I have all of his email BCC’d to my account with his knowledge. We allow supervised YouTube access but nothing else but those 2. We think it is important to allow children to learn social media boundaries through experimentation and guided exploration. They are digital citizens and need to learn how to swim with sharks when the price tag is still low. That is our position. As he gets older we will evaluate each platform he wants to use on a case-by-case basis and decide how a tool will be used or avoided together. Making him part of the decision and conversation we feel will foster a more open communication when issues arise such as cyber-bullying and making good choices when navigating around inappropriate content.

    Reply
  42. optishay Report

    I have 3 children, ages 6, 8, & 9. We only allow them to look at our Facebook pages. They are not allowed their own social media apps. It is challenging. The kids are always asking for Snapchat and FB. However, we are in charge and say no.

    Reply
  43. meriah Report

    in our household we have 4 children from the ages of 14-9 I feel it should be based on the maturity of the child at this time only my 14 year old son is allowed a Facebook account but i monitor it daily i also have his password etc. My 13 year old son had a facebook but we deleted his account shortly after he set it up because of some of his choice of friends.

    Reply
  44. jhand Report

    My daughters are 13 and 15 and they don’t do social media. Period.  My 15-year-old has a phone, and the younger one will get one when she turns 15, provided she shows enough responsible behavior.  (Age 15 is not a guarantee for a phone.)  They both have means with which to text friends directly, and that is all the access they need.  They do not give permission for people to post their photos, and if I want to post a photo on Facebook (I rarely do), I have to get their approval of the photo.  They understand that putting something online means it will be there forever.

    Reply
  45. spc0720 Report

    It’s very hard to strike a balance. Especially when we as parents aren’t as tech savvy as our children. When our daughter was given her first phone, it came with the parental block already set up from the start, because another parent showed us what to do, lol (us parents need to stick together, it takes a village). We talked about being safe, inappropriate sharing of info, bullying, etc….  She has also talked about this in her computer class at school. We let her know we would do random checks on her phone. We bought the phone and we pay the bill, therefore, we will do random checks. So far, things are fine. She’s a great kid, mature, good student, athletic, etc…  It’s so hard cause you want to show some level of trust yet it’s a scary world out there. Sigh….. the world has changed so fast and it’s hard to keep up with it all. I can only hope we are doing the right thing. Some parents say by infringing on their privacy, you will cause them to start lying and sneaking around. I don’t know, all we can do is what we think is right by our own child.

    Reply
  46. Famileeofsix Report

    I am a working mother, and a mother who needs all the help we can get with our family.  With regard to social media, I think it is vital that parents play a roll in regularly monitoring their child’s electronics.  With so many apps out there, it is hard to keep up, but unfortunately, you have to check and keep parental controls on there – and then check to make sure those haven’t been hacked.  1 out of 4 of our kids managed to guess our password and it turned into something horrible because we had gotten lazy in checking her phone – we trusted her and we were also sure we had safe guarded the phone.  Apps like Snapchat, Askfm, HotorNot, and others allow kids to have some anonymity and kids become brave and start making poor choices.  We came across kids who asked for naked pictures, asked very personal, sexual questions, felt comfortable talking about sex, drugs, drinking, parties, bullying, etc.  And with so many kids on Instagram and Twitter, they are involved with kids from other schools and possibly even adults – from all over.  Having them choose to be “private” only means that a person needs to ask to follow them, most kids always say yes because it’s all about the numbers and feeling “popular.”  We had regular conversations with our kids about appropriate behavior, we call parents before sleepovers and parties, we attend family functions, and we have required “down” time from electronics.  Our child is a active in school sports, gets good grades, and has nice friends with nice parents.  And grounding your child from their phone only means they will use their login information for their iphone on their ipad, tablet, ipod, etc.  A wifi connection is all they need to get on their apps and their imessaging.  We also know people who have children with multiple accounts – the one their parents know about and the one they keep secret.  It may sound old fashioned, but I think that children are no longer 16 going on 20, they are 12 going on 20.  With inappropriate clothing, trying to keep up with $100 jeans and boots, $500 phones, etc. and in middle and high school it can be incredibly difficult to fit in with the “right” crowd.  Friends who were your friends in elementary school are no longer your friends, and it becomes a very tough road to go down.  Our school will have 835 graduates this year.  We have lost kids to drugs, alcohol, car crashes, etc.  We have drug dogs at school with regular raids.  We have kids who smoke pot in the bathrooms and who sell in the student parking lot – all  under our noses.  And it doesn’t matter that our school is in an affluent neighborhood, #1 in the state in several sports, academics, and the arts.  This kind of thing hits all schools, all classes, and all races.  We are watching it happen.  Parents need to get together to make sure our kids are safe – to make sure we know what they are doing when we aren’t around, and to make sure they are kids while they should be.  Most of these kids are so busy doing toxic things, they will not have choices when they are older because they are being labeled now or hurting themselves in ways that lead to more negative behaviors later.  With so many households being 1 parent or have 2 working parents, I think that things sometimes get “lax” and we rely on our kids in ways our parents didn’t rely on us; we give certain freedoms our parents didn’t give us, and I think we need to realize that with the responsibility of these electronics and social media, there comes great responsibility.  I think it’s also important for us to teach consequences when things go wrong and to not use the “they are only kids” line.  If they want to act 16, 18, or 21 – they get to have the backlash of their bad decisions.  With that in mind, monitoring, educating, and giving these phones with data to kids who may not be mature enough to make the right decisions, should be considered at all times.  We have to ask ourselves if we want these kids to be better than we were at their age and safer?  What were you doing at 14 – what is your child doing?  Would you rather remember the time you climbed a tree, stayed out riding your bike until dark, took your camping or to the mall or played a board game – or do you want to look back and remember not knowing because everyone had their head down in their phones?

    Reply
  47. Momoftraumakid Report

    Where to start. We tried to keep our child away from social media for as long as we could. We adopted him at age two. He is quite immature for his age. At the age of 12 he was at the public library and an older girl (16) helped him set up an account. Knowing that this was a pandora station box we decided to approach this as a teaching opportunity. We explained the dangers of people not being who they say there are. Encouraged him to be selective about who he allows to friend him. He gave us his password and login name. Luckily he hasn’t changed that information and we have n
    Been able to monitor his Facebook. His birth grandmother found him on Facebook and told him she will let him know who she is if he didn’t tell us she was talking to him. We found out because I was on his Facebook. There was a lot of drama, anger, and misunderstandings that followed. We were ok with a face to face meeting with grandma if she was willing to talk to us about boundaries and expectations. We also asked if her and her son (bio dad) would meet with our sons therapist. They refused.
    Social media also opened up a doorway for our son to participate in very inappropriate web sites.
    We were not able to stop the avalanche of negative sites, drama, etc that went along with the Facebook account. He is 16 now and his attitude and bad behavior has only increased. When he is angry he posts things about hating his life, wish he wasn’t ever born etc. each time we take him for evaluation to make sure he doesn’t commit suicide. He gets all kinds of reactions from his Facebook friends. Of course his Facebook friends are more knowledgeable than we are.
    I hate social media. I monitor his account and deal with the negative things that come up as we go. Luckily for us his social media use has decreased a lot. He mostly posts silly things now. No more threats.
    The only good thing about social media is the instant message feature. He is very good about telling us where he is and when he changes plans.
    It is here to stay and we have done our best to work with it.

    Reply
  48. momtoboys Report

    My child is 12. He has not requested any Social Media no would we have allowed any. We believe a phone will speed up that request and he doesn’t need that yet either. He is well aware of our views on SM and he knows I have a utility SM account only- no photos and with an altered name. We stress that friends are people you see regularly or chat by phone with and your personal details are yours alone. I have looked up people we know with public profiles and shown him how easy it is to find out kids schools and their photos and their regular routine:( Since they were little-!here are bad people who will hurt you and they look just like good people, and the number one person you can trust is yourself and your instincts. Come to Momwoth anything and we will figure it out.

    Reply
  49. Beth L Report

    No Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc for our 11 year old daughter. We also have a rule that none of her friends can post pictures of her on any social media sites. She needs to be in control of that content when she is emotionally mature enough to handle the responsibility of that privilege. Even Mom doesn’t post her picture anywhere at her request. We’ve maintained an honest and open dialogue with our daughter about the dangers of the Internet and we believe she understands. We do allow her to Skype with her friends and feel that Skype at least provides an avenue for verbal communication with her friends.

    Reply

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