Children Lil Man Parenting Rant

Instagram and A Six Year Old

September 4, 2012

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

*faints*

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 guess it's hers temporarily

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?

 

 

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24 Comments

  • Reply
    EbonyCPrincess
    September 4, 2012 at 2:59 am

    This is such a good post. I don’t have any children yet but I think the same as you! I was not allowed to have any sort of gaming system as a kid – portable or no and recently when teaching children’s church I said to the kids (I teach the 9-12 age group) “Well none of you have Facebook accounts” and was greeted with all kinds of indignant disagreement. One kid shouted out “Sister Ebony, I have two Facebooks!” I was stunned into silence for a second! I have to round up their cell phones at the start of class. If only more parents were like you! (okay, that was more then I intended to say…lol!)

    Anywhooo your daughter is adorable, I swear when I saw that pic I wanted to steal her away from you!

  • Reply
    Kita
    September 4, 2012 at 8:18 am

    I just talked about getting an ipod for my son for Christmas on the blog today but that will now be scratched off the list. Technology is sadly taking over though I even do hw for my son online now and he takes up the computer in the evening which means he will soon need his own computer *sigh* I will be monitoring everything no computers in bedrooms around here the computer will be in an open space where I can walk by and see whats up.

  • Reply
    Optimistic Mom
    September 4, 2012 at 8:23 am

    I think children just don’t understand what can happen with information shared on social media. It is scary what can happen. I think we will have passwords limitations and also keep in constant communication. I think you did the right thing, because he has to learn. Maybe when you feel he is ready, you and him can have a shared account where you monitor it and what is posted. Maybe???
    BTW: I don’t even know how instagram works……..I guess I better figure that one out too before my son does. lol

  • Reply
    Nellie
    September 4, 2012 at 8:57 am

    This is a great topic. I am still always so stunned at the rate ate which children’s give information up, but I am so glad you caught on when you did. Instagram is cool but I don’t think there are any parental locks on the app which is making it super dangerous.

  • Reply
    Brandyne
    September 4, 2012 at 9:05 am

    This is such a tricky subject now. As a mom I want to protect my son from the dangers of being too connected to the outside world. It just seems almost impossible to find the right balance between protecting and cutting him off from what’s normal and expected by his peers. My son is only 19 months, and is already semi fluent in using our technological devices. We have Apps for him on our tablets and our laptops. I want him to be able to learn to navigate this space safely, but it’s a hard thing to keep the reigns on when the internet is such wide open space that can swallow up time and information before we even realize it. Overall i think we’re going to wait until he is much older before we give him access to his own devices. We’ll try to teach him safety guidelines, but I think maybe the only way I’m going to be comfortable is if I keep a large amount of the control over where he goes and what he does online. I don’t want to be overbearing, but I need to know that he’s really learned the lessons before I let him go off on his own.

  • Reply
    Aracely
    September 4, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I too saw the special on NBC about stranger danger, scary! I am very nervous about the internet and social media as well. It was hard enough raising two kids without it as there were so many other distractions so when I think about Madison and the era we’re in my stomach turns upside down. We have to continue to reiterate the danger of the internet without supervision. Children for some reason have to test the waters!

  • Reply
    LaShawn
    September 4, 2012 at 11:11 am

    This is a hard one. I think our children are growing up in a much more technologically driven world than our parents even thought of. For instance, my son would LIVE on my ipad if I gave him a chance. But I don’t think he’ll be getting his own( with internet access) for a LOOOOOONG time. preteen maybe? My problem with some of these apps are NO parental controls on them. We need to be able to monitor somehow! B

  • Reply
    Jazmine Jade
    September 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    OMGosh I would have been mad too! I don’t have biological kids yet but I have a step daughter who stays with us during the summer and it’s so strange how you can’t even let your kids outside to play anymore. We used to play outside all day and be in the neighborhood. I would never feel comfortable letting my kids do that. It’s sad because you want to let a kid be a kid but you have to kinda steal their innocence early and teach them about bad people.

  • Reply
    Krissy
    September 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Jas will only be using “kid friendly” things like Leap Pad Explorer or the Kid app on my phone that she knows is just for her. That’s how I will handle that. But the time she is in need of a cell phone it will have restrictions on it.

  • Reply
    Nae
    September 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Wow….how scary. I’m not a mom yet but I thank those of of you who are for these sneak peeks.

    • Reply
      Mimi
      September 5, 2012 at 8:11 am

      Right! I hope we aren’t scaring you!!

  • Reply
    Jenni
    September 4, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    If I was in your situation, I’d do exactly what you did. I think one of the best tools we have as parents, is act of taking a privilege away. Sometimes no matter how much we try to preach a point, it doesn’t sink in until they lose access to the items they love the most. That even holds true for my 21month old.

  • Reply
    Melisa - Mommy This and That
    September 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    You did the right thing because he asked and you said no and even went so far as to talk to him about why not. And he did it anyhow. I totally believe in taking away something that is a privilege. I already know I will be the noisy mom and feel like if you don’t have anything to hide, then it won’t matter. The internet can lead to things kids don’t need to see or put them in contact with folks that have no business being in contact with. I’ve already told the husband that I will put a tracking app on our computers when the time comes so I can see what the kids are up to. Of course I will tell them the rules as it pertains to internet and social media and then if I see they aren’t following them…bye bye access.

  • Reply
    Tiffany
    September 4, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    I don’t have kids yet, but this topic definitely does scare me. I (secretly) follow my 16 year old sister on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram and I am shocked at the things that her and her friends post. And my poor parents are so out of the loop. They barely know what Twitter is, let alone Tumblr and Instagram. I’m gonna say a prayer for ALL the parents lol!

    • Reply
      Mimi
      September 5, 2012 at 8:13 am

      Girl. I secretly check in on my cousins and a few other teenagers I know and OMG. I don’t say anything to them because they kind of look at me as the cool adult but I promise if I see anything totally inappropriate I’m going to them with it.

  • Reply
    Nerd Girl
    September 5, 2012 at 9:59 am

    LG has an iPod. She inherited mine when I got a new phone. Her account is really my old one which means she can’t download anything without me entering the password. I do not allow her to download/play/access anything that allows for interaction with others.

    As far as the computer – we’re old school – no laptop for her. She uses the desk top in the study so that I can easily monitor her activities. I’ve created a list of “favorites” for her and those are all she’s allowed to access. I have noticed that she’s getting a bit too comfortable accessing YouTube so I’ve asked her to let me know any time she’s watching something new on YouTube so I can approve it or not. I discovered this because she was trying to watch an episode of Sponge Bob and somehow ended up watching Smoke Bob or something – a weed smoking sponge. I told her that wasn’t what she wanted to watch and talked a bit about drugs. Tried not to overreact, just emphasize again that we are looking out for her safety, and we need to know what she’s watching, playing, and listening to.

    It’s definitely a struggle and one that we can’t turn to our parents for help with because they didn’t have these things to contend with. My action plan is basically to stay all up in her business, pray hard, and talk to her a lot!

  • Reply
    GG
    September 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Gurl! I went through something similar with my son last year but he was 9 years old at the time. He had opened up a couple of accounts on these kid virtual world type websites… think Sims. He’d asked us if he could do it. We told him no and he did it anyway. One day he left the screen up and OMG we were so horrified to find that he’d blatantly disobeyed and he was interacting with older kids who were cursing and talking about teenage situations that he had NO BUSINESS being privy to. It’s really disheartening. I don’t have any great advice b/c we are figuring it all out as we go just like you are. But we monitor them very very closely when on any type of computer/phone and even the TV we have it all locked down with parental controls but that’s another story. Another challenge is what they are exposed to when they are with older cousins and family members. We can shelter them as much as we want but we aren’t with them alllll the time. We just have to keep teaching them (and threatening them, lol) to do the right things and to be aware that there is more going on – dangerous things – than they know.

  • Reply
    Dr. Reginia; The Social Mistress
    September 7, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Great post Mimi. Technology opens the door to so many things. Many times children don’t understand the dangers that lurk inside the computer as they are very trusting. I’m happy that you we able to remedy the situation early.

  • Reply
    brandi
    September 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I think you handled the situation well. Kids need to learn at an early age that lying is wrong. It’s a part of growing up and learning right from wrong. Although young children don’t fully understand how the internet works, it’s important to teach them the plain truth about the dangers online. I play role-playing games with my son to teach him what to do should he encounter a stranger.

  • Reply
    Stesha
    September 9, 2012 at 10:46 am

    We’re The Last of The Mohicans because the 15 year has a cell phone with all Internet blocked and isn’t allowed a Facebook page until he turns 18. I don’t want a crazy picture, tweet, or Facebook status to follow him into a job interview.

    Hugs and Mocha,
    Stesha

  • Reply
    Carla
    September 9, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Aww… I’m shocked at Little Man. I don’t blame you for taking his Ipod. My daughter has an Iphone (not activated) and I let her download games that she wants to play but all of her activity it emailed to me so I know what she’s downloading. In addition, my daughter is pretty good with asking me for permission and listening to my nay and yays.. for now.

  • Reply
    TheProDiva
    September 9, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Ugh! This post scares the heck outta me! I don’t have any children, but I have no clue how I would raise one in this world that is so different from the one I grew up in. It’s almost like the common and proven child-rearing techniques that have been passed down over the years are obsolete. I have no advice for you, but I am trolling your comments to see what others are saying…and I’m taking notes!

  • Reply
    The Hypocritical Football Mom | Lipgloss & Binky
    July 26, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    […] See, my son’s personality is one that is hard to describe. He is that kid that will challenge his father and I until we see red. He is that child with a level of curiosity that will have me searching the internet for answers to give him. He can read 4 grade levels ahead, and can clearly articulate his thoughts, and let’s not forget setup an Instagram account against my wishes. […]

  • Reply
    Bernetta
    January 12, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    OMG!! OMG!! That is something right there! My son wants a Facebook as well. And he learned about IG from his 11 year old cousin over the Holidays and has been asking for that. My son received a tablet for Christmas and can’t buy apps on free stuff, but I do need to check on those apps more frequently! Man oh man!

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