The delicate subject of parenting in this age of social media, and technology is starting to rear its ugly head in this little home in a southern ‘burb of the A.T.L.
I just had a bad feeling about my son getting that iPod from my father from the very beginning. Mother’s intuition anyone? My father insisted it was equivalent to the Gameboy that he purchased for me when I was just a hair older than my son is now. My argument was WiFi probably wasn’t even thought of at that time, and there wasn’t much damage that I could do sticking a Tetris cartridge in it except playing it until my thumbs were sore.
I had to deliberately explain to him that my son would be able to access the internet and its crazies and potentially download apps that would show up as charges on my debit card. To ease my nerves he said he would have a talk with him about internet safety and not to download any apps without my permission.
I was fine with that until my son started to ask me for an Instagram. I think he may have asked me 7,431 times and each time I said no. I pride myself in being a mom who is open and flexible but I draw the line at letting a 6 year old have any type of social media account. I didn’t just tell him no but I explained my reasoning, most important being I wouldn’t know who he was talking to and since he is a very bright boy seeing that he was able to figure out my password and download free apps without my permission I just didn’t want him to have that type of access to the world just yet.
Fast forward to Friday. As the baby brought the iPod to me saying “Shan do his ass word” translation, “Can you put in his password.” I obliged her and before handing it back over I saw an Instagram app logo on his home screen. I press it and would you believe…
THIS CHILD SET UP HIS OWN INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT
I. WAS. LIVID.
I snooped around more and found he was following people and they were following him. His iPod has since been taken away until further notice. I honestly don’t know if he will get it back. If he does I will be the gatekeeper of the password and he will be supervised.
I don’t know if I’m more disturbed that he went behind my back and did it. Signifying his first and I’m sure not his last trek into the land of blatant disobedience, or the fact that he is so oblivious to what is out there lurking and that scares me.
We would love to believe our children listen to what we tell them and won’t talk to strangers. Recently I saw the special they did on 20/20, where children were so quick to give out their number and address when constantly prodded by strangers for the information while their parents looked on from a secret location in utter disgust and it made me more uneasy.
This world creates so many new challenges and threats for us and our children that we didn’t have to worry about when we were coming up and quite frankly I’m a whole lot lost on how to deal with these things as I know they will only get worse the older they get.
How do you plan to parent your children when it comes to internet safety and social media?