There are scientific reasons why Australia’s drinking age is 18 and also our driving age. Just as there are reasons why there are age limits placed on social media. More often than not it is because a child’s brain isn’t fully developed and matured enough so that they aren’t able to make logical decisions and predict the outcomes of their actions.
A few months ago my nephew (who is now five) with the help of his Mum (on her Instagram account), won a competition for a sizeable voucher for a Scooter Shop. Now if you know my nephew and even my own son, you would know how much these two love to scoot. You’ll find them most days down at the skate park trying out tricks (these are quite cute and nothing compared to real scooter tricks but for their age, pretty amazing). They watch the older kids at the skatepark and try to break down their moves. And when they aren’t down the skate park, they are scooting at home. When they are allowed, they also sometimes watch youtube videos on scooting. So when he won the voucher, we were all of course so excited for him.
And then the haters came!
But what made matters worse, were that most of the haters, who might I add took the time to comment, were young kids themselves. I will say at this point that there were some too who congratulated the little guy and some that even tried to put the haters back in their box. But my initial thought was, I wonder if their parents know about this??
There comes a point, where if your children are on social media (especially if they are under the stated age limits) that you have to take responsibility for what they are doing. It is your responsibility to know what sites they are on, to set down the ground rules, and to make sure you can see what they are posting and when. There are no excuses! If you give your child a phone or iPad or the like and allow them to access social media apps and sites, then you need to know what is going on, not only for the sake of others but the sake of your child. If you’re not familiar with something they want to join, then it’s your job to do the research and find out what it’s all about. Then you go ahead and make an educated decision for your family.
And believe me, I’m not being naive to think that kids aren’t on these platforms, of course they are, a lot with their parents blessings. Or naive to think that we can’t watch over our kids shoulders at all times. But if I was to let my child on, you could be sure as hell I’d be policing the shit outta what she was doing; for one to make sure she wasn’t being preyed upon by strangers or online bullies, but also to make sure she was being appropriate online too.
Princess will be getting an iPad soon for school, she is quite inexperienced when it comes to all things online. I found her on youtube the other day and said to her “P, I told you aren’t allowed to use the internet without asking”, to which she responded with “But Mum, it’s not the Internet, it’s Youtube”. At a recent parent info night at the school, required apps were being discussed when she leaned over to me and said that she had a question, I asked her what it was and she responded “but are we allowed to have google?”…see inexperienced! But my job as her parent is to education and protect her online. It isn’t something that we can pretend isn’t going to happen, technology and the internet is engrained into our way of life. We will be employing a range of strategies to monitor her online (maybe this a post within itself!!).
But back to my nephew and the competition he won, I can’t imagine that many, if any, parents would’ve been impressed about some of the comments left for my sister or about my nephew on their winning photo. At the end of the day, they posted an awesome picture (and I’m not just saying that, it was actually well thought out and awesome) and won the prize. It’s ok to be disappointed that you didn’t win but it isn’t ok to turn into a nasty person online.
So if Santa is getting you wee-ones a device this Christmas, maybe it’s time to think about the boundaries you might set with them? Anyway, there’s some food for thought today.