It was a moment of weakness and it didn’t last long.
My college freshman almost had me convinced that I ought to change the house rules for her younger sister.
The logic sounded reasonable, the timing seemed right, and I could almost envision myself jumping into the minivan and driving to the cellular store to pick out an inexpensive cell phone for Amy, my 12-year-old.
Then, in a fit of common sense, I spent twenty minutes on one of those Mommy-blogger sites. Simply perusing the headlines reminded me of all the reasons why we don’t get cell phones for our children until they hit high school. Ditto for Facebook.
“There’s no <3 in texting,” one story is titled. “A new way to monitor kids on Facebook,” is another. “How to REALLY talk to your kids about cyberbullying,” offers another.
Not to mention all the stories about teens, tweens, technology and sex, an alarming connection in today’s culture.
Now, before you get defensive and start telling me all the reasons why these things are safe and appropriate for our children, know that I’m not judging your house rules. We’re just not changing ours.
Perhaps my husband and I are subjecting our daughter to an “Amish Lockdown” (her phrase, not ours), but she’s well adjusted enough to joke about it. And besides, we still have a landline that rings often enough to keep her busy.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “my parents are forcing me to live in the dark ages” and 10 being “kegger at my house this weekend,” we’re firmly at about a four. Some days even a five.
But when it comes to the technology that provides greater freedom from our supervision, our middle-schooler really is deprived.
We’d rather she wait for an age-appropriate privilege than spend our days and nights monitoring her every move.
Supervising kids and technology is even harder during the summer months. A new crop of mom blog posts now warns parents about idle tweens and teens spending summer vacation time sending “sext” messages, engaging in cyberbullying or broadcasting details about their whereabouts over social networking sites.
Not enough to worry about during the workday? Perhaps while you’re plowing through the “in” box on your computer, your son or daughter is enduring the threat of “textual harassment” (no, I didn’t make that up). This is when someone hounds or stalks another via text messages – a particularly scary factor in tween and teen dating abuse.