I know my kid is not even three yet, but I still felt like I wanted to share this with you all. I have a lot of friends with older children and I know they’ve been having some trouble with their teens and pre-teens in this digital age. Even though I do have mixed emotions about the line between privacy and good parenting, somethings you just need to know.
Growing up we didn’t have texts, well we sort of did by the end of my high school era, but it was only flip phone or Nokia where you had to press each number multiple times to text. For the most part we had pagers and with those with had codes we’d put in after our number. It was quite elaborate and now very archaic. Eventually got cell phones that were awesome because they played Snake, but still there was no Google or Facebook on them, shoot all we had was computers at home with AOL chat rooms and AIM for messaging.
This was the height of teenage handheld technology back then. And even with just an old Nokia and AOL I got in more than my fair share of trouble with messaging, chat rooms, and of course those niftily folded notes we passed in class. I got in trouble so much that I swore to myself that I’d never be a snooping parent that read my child’s notes or go through their room. But now that I have a kid, I am definitely rethinking my stance at least a little.
The world of social media has really changed things. The ways our kids can connect with anyone, anywhere, at anytime anonymously is pretty scary. I even had one friend who’s young son seemed to be prayed upon while playing Minecraft. Luckily she felt that the meeting a “friend from class” was a little sketchy, so she intercepted quickly and nothing bad happened. This was the real eye opener. A seemingly benign game for children could have been a way a predator found a way in. That’s not even with a teen who could be actively searching for attention and acceptance online.
It’s a tricky raising children where social media, smart phones, and the internet literally puts the world at their fingertips. Even though Isaiah is only 3 and most of these terms will be outdated, it’s still good to keep in touch with it. I already feel old knowing that the code we used growing up, POS for Parent Over Shoulder is now just the number 9 or PIR for Parent In Room. And for all my friends who knew me back in the day, yes I do feel a little like the narc parent that I said I’d never be. After you become a parent things really do change (yes mom, you were right). And also because I know all to well how fast things can get out of control and that was 15 years ago, which TBH scares me.