Taking responsibility

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.

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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.

 

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20 thoughts on “Taking responsibility

  1. As a high school teacher, I’m constantly gobsmacked at how many parents hand over devices to their kids with no oversight, or even idea of how to manage a device. Inevitably something goes pear shaped, and at school, I have to call parents to tell them what their little treasures have been up to. Generally, they are shocked that this could happen to “their good kid”. The point is that even good kids need help to make good choices, and young kids (up to about 16 years in my experience) need help and oversight to manage social media and the internet in general. Just this week, we gave our daughter a smartphone for her birthday. She is off to high school in a town a distance away from home, so it makes a lot of sense. We have put strict limits on what apps she is allowed to have, and she cannot put anything on her phone without her phone sending me a message asking permission. We also regularly (randomly) check her messages etc. Being a high school technology teacher, I probably know more than most about teens and devices, but I believe that if you are going to give your child a device, it is your responsibility to educate yourself, and your child, and to monitor its use.
    Can you tell I’m a little passionate about this???

    • Passion away Jo, I’m with you!! I find it gobsmacking that we also deal with the issues you are talking about in grade 5 and 6! I think a lot of it comes down to parents being educated and aware themselves of new apps and social media platforms and how to engage in worthwhile conversations with their children about the great things about social media but also the dangers. Hopefully this post might give some food for thought and to prop open discussion

  2. I don’t envy parents, having to work out how to navigate this. I think I got up to enough …not trouble, but I doubt it was ideal…. as a teen with just limited dial up internet and things like MSN Messenger!

  3. We have two iPads, both of which were mine to being with but are not basically owned by the girls. They are connected to our wifi, but I’ve removed everything but the games so they can’t actually open Safari and get on the web, thankfully. And the reason they are connected to the Wifi at all is so they can use the ABC Kids iView app in the mornings when they first get up. My eldest starts school next year and I am really not looking forward to the sudden maturing that this is going to invoke, and the tricky situation of helping her navigate growing up in the age of social media. I am so damn happy that I grew up before FB and texting, and that the only way to communicate outside of school hours was by picking up the phone and calling someone. I dread to think what it’s going to be like for the girls, having to deal with the big emotions and angst that come from growing up and figuring our who you are, without the added stress of social media thrown on top of it all. Sometimes I wish i could move them to Antartica until they are adults, lol!

    And I do believe it is a parent’s responsibility to at least try to monitor closely what their kids get up to on SM. I am going to hopefully try to ban all SM for the girls until they are at least the minimum age. Fingers crossed I can survive the pressure!

    • I don’t care if my kids aren’t the ‘cool’ ones if it means I can keep them off SM until they are much, much older! At the moment P has an iPod which is also linked to our wifi, but basically she only uses it for music and some selected games, if anything she uses the notes section more to write short stories and add photos to

  4. I totally agree with you. It’s up to the parents to set the boundaries and keep tabs on their kids online activities, just as they would with offline activities. As for being mean, the same rules applies, if you wouldn’t say those things in real life, you shouldn’t be saying them online. Your poor little nephew! I hope he scoots himself happy!

    • Online and offline are the same nowadays, same rules should apply. Keep tabs on your kids and what they are doing as best you can and keep the dialogue open so they can come to you. My nephew loves his scooter and is the envy of the bigger boys at the skate park!

    • Here’s an idea, let’s let them play outside and talk to their friends face to face *insert gasps here*. P’s friends all have musically (she’s 8), she asked me if she could have it and instead I gave her a hairbrush and stood her in front of the mirror and showed her the originally musically 😂

  5. Peer pressure and parents not being able to say no would be two reasons for kids being exposed too early to what is the BIG wide world of ‘internet’. Schools take it all very seriously and run courses for families and place restrictions on access etc but it is like a runaway train these days. In HS and probably the latter years of PS kids are lying about their age to go on-line. They are also using SM through the day at school. I am glad I am no longer a principal. The nasty behaviours and rumours before the internet took over were enough when small-minded people decided to have a go at each other back then. Sigh. Why cant people just be nice! Have a good break over Christmas. Denyse

    • It is a mine field for schools Denyse! We have Project Rocket come for our year five and sixes to educate the students about SM and usage, sometimes it sinks in and other times not. It’s usually when the things you stated occur.
      Enjoy your holidays Denyse and thanks for visiting and commenting, it’s appreciated

  6. I have to admit I am REALLY glad my kids are now 22 and 20, and having a mobile phone, Facebook etc, did not really become a thing until they hit high school. It was bad enough then – I shudder when I see toddlers swiping on their parent’s iPad or phone …. personally I think one of the WORST parenting decisions we ever made was getting our boy a Sony Playstation for his 5th birthday. If I had my time over again I would delay introducing games/internet and related technologies for as long as possible!

    Visiting from #teamIBOT x

    • Yes Janet and I envy those with older kids who haven’t had to navigate this! Our daughter has an iPod (which she saved and paid for herself) but she only uses it for music and photos and strict restrictions are set via family sharing. I opt for keeping my children children for as long as possible!

  7. That experience was definitely an eye opener for me, I had no idea there were so many young kids on social media and clearly their parents had no idea what they were doing. It’s really scary!

    • Yep so scary! Unfortunately you can understand how some parents (after their child has taken their own life) had no idea what was going on online, it’s such a scary thing to think about!

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