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Topic # 223286 22-Sep-2017 10:51
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TLDR: How do you handle your kids use of social media and are we doing enough as a society to keep kids safe ?

 

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The majority of my working life has been working with customer data for big businesses. I know what is kept and what it can be used for. I may be a little paranoid but that doesn't mean they aren't watching.

 

I have three kids (17, 14 and 9) and whilst the girls have no interest in social media other than pinterest, it's a different story with my 14yo son.

 

Most of it is just a thirst for more information. His primary interests are overseas with little to no media attention in NZ. But peer-pressure is huge. If you're not following 1000+ people you must be a leper. If you don't reply to a PM immediately questions are asked about your friendship. If you're not seen to be liking the same posts as everyone else the same happens. If you're not watching porn you're a freak. My son made all of these comments when we talked about it recently.

 

I've seen multiple Instagram accounts of teenage girls which make me blush, and shock my wife. We've had the roastbusters saga and the Wellington College FB issues earlier this year.

 

What makes a 14yo girl post half naked photos of herself for the world to see? What are we doing with our boys to teach them to respect women ? What is their porn consumption like ? Is that what our kids find acceptable now and we don't know it ? I've spoken to several parents in the last week and not one of them has any idea of what their kids are doing online. 

 

For me, education is more important than restriction. We've just received an email from his college asking if we would like to install software on his phone which tracks everything he does via 3G. They already restrict inappropriate sites on the school network but 80% of the parents who responded wanted education and not restriction. According to the creators of the software we are the first college to not be interested in what they offer.

 

Are we doing enough as parents, as relatives, as teachers, as a society to keep our kids safe ?

 

Or has the horse already bolted and restriction is the only option because it's become too hard ?


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  Reply # 1870864 22-Sep-2017 11:13
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I would say half of parents have no clue about privacy and safety. They're probably in no way in a position to educate. Social programs aren't doing enough to educate parents, let alone children who rely on these parents.





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  Reply # 1870869 22-Sep-2017 11:20
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It's a difficult question. I think restriction in public facilities is perfectly reasonable. I would be pretty unhappy if my kids are viewing porn/adult content at school, and I'd expect if it were happening and the media got hold of it, It would be all-consuming for months!

 

My kids are younger, and the school does a great job talking to kids about bullying, being safe on the internet. I am confident my Son understands the risks. He is pretty conformist and will "tell" on anyone breaking the rules. We still ensure he is only accessing the internet when he is in family rooms. 

 

As time goes on we will continue to work with both our kids. Unfortunately, there is only so much you can do. We do limit their access to violent games, movies etc. 

 

The best way to approach this is with regular honest communication with your kids in my opinion. Sometimes easier said than done. Honestly speaking, if you don't have clear lines of communication by now, it's pretty much too late. To some degree you have to trust what you have taught your kids will form the basis of their behaviour and choices, but kids inevitable stray and trying to educate them around safety in all regards is the best you can do in that situation. We don't want our kids drinking and doing drugs, we will talk to them about the risks and potential issues, but enforcing a zero policy is hard to do and often causes kids to sneak it and over induldge. 

 

 

 

So much easier to sit and write this, than it is in practice. Do the best you can, follow your instincts. You know your kids best.

 

 


 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1870900 22-Sep-2017 12:05
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I have a Nexus 6 phone.  It's built like a brick shouthouse.

 

When my 4yo tries to look at me practising my social media skills, I whack her on the head with it*

 

I am going for the Pavlovian effect, association of social media with a sore head.

 

I'll let you know how well this tactic holds up over the next 14 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* It should be feckin obvious, but I don't really do this.


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  Reply # 1871068 22-Sep-2017 15:29
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*snip* missed point completely.

 

 


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  Reply # 1871080 22-Sep-2017 15:31
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He isn't preaching to the choir, he is asking the group if he is doing enough, and there are some here qualified to answer.

 

 




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  Reply # 1871098 22-Sep-2017 15:55
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Like @networkn we have talked to our kids about this since day one. We believe you start parenting the moment they are born, not when they start to cause trouble at 6, 10 or whatever.

 

I'm not asking if I'm doing enough because I know we are already. I know the risks and take more care than most. We talk to our kids all the time and have great relationships with them. But my question is more of a 'is society doing enough?' and I don't think it is.

 

Teaching kids how to use devices is very different to teaching them how to be responsible with what they allow them to do. I personally don't see what a 3yo can learn from a device that a book or a toy cant do for them, but that's not my point.

 

My kids are well aware of their responsibilities with social media but they are by far the minority. So what do we do about it ? Teachers often know just as little as the parents, our parents probably know even less, so are the kids just going to learn the hard way ?


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  Reply # 1871101 22-Sep-2017 16:04
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Our first was limited to 2 hours a week of screen time (any screen) until he was 2 Years old. Our second got more access and earlier, just because her brother had access more as he got older. 

 

We often enforce periods of time with no tablets or screens for a number of days for example, esp if we see them becoming dependent or behaviour start to change. 


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  Reply # 1872599 25-Sep-2017 17:14
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martyyn:

 

But peer-pressure is huge. If you're not following 1000+ people you must be a leper. If you don't reply to a PM immediately questions are asked about your friendship. If you're not seen to be liking the same posts as everyone else the same happens. If you're not watching porn you're a freak. My son made all of these comments when we talked about it recently.

 

 

I think this is the crux of the matter - peer pressure. Your son probably doesn't want to follow 1000+ people, or immediately respond to PM's, and having questions asked about your friendship can be a hard thing for a young teen, already trying to establish new friendships, etc.

 

It is important to form friendships, etc, in school, but no matter how big, or small your friendship / like circle is at school, come the real world in the workforce and adulthood, barely 1 or 2 would make a jot of difference.

 

After a few years, who really keeps in touch with all your old school friends ? My kids haven't, my nieces haven't, they have moved on and made another circle of relationships completely different from those formed at school, perhaps retaining 1 or 2 from school.

 

If your son is feeling pressured about no responding to PM's and likes, perhaps those friends are not really worth having.

 

He sounds sensible, and perhaps by not immediately responding to PM;s or like, he is setting his own boundaries. There is nothing wrong with that, and is to be admired.

 

I know things were different in our time when we grew up, and we didn't have social media, and much could be shrugged off - once outside the school gates, who gave a rats bum what anyone said behind your back.

 

It's a hard graft being a teen these days, but to realise that what someone else says about you, especially if it is nasty or untrue, is purely a reflection on them, and certainly not on yourself. I was 16 when I figured this out - though I did have help from a very kind neighbour, who quoted through some religious scripture, and made sure I thoroughly understood what the underlying tenet was. I'm not in any way religious., but it certainly helped with clarification.

 

I had bit of a sh|t time at school due to my German lineage ...

 

 

 

 





My thoughts are no longer my own and is probably representative of our media-controlled government


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  Reply # 1872606 25-Sep-2017 17:42
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It amazes me when I speak to some parents at how accepting they are with kids and screen time/social networking. A comment I heard from a Mum the other day is that she hardly sees her daughter anymore, daughter just wants to spend all day in her room on her phone. I nearly smacked the mum over the head!

 

 


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  Reply # 1872635 25-Sep-2017 19:00
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My 2c for what it's worth.....

 

At 14 he is getting too old for close control. He is getting to an age where he has to start making decisions and taking responsibility for his own actions. So I think installing software to track everything he does is probably overkill, might be received badly by him, and would likely be counterproductive. If it starts to become a nuisance to him then he will find a way around it, the way kids are wont to do. Plus, excessive parental/restrictions could make him a laughing stock with his peers, leading to much teasing and bullying.

 

As for porn, I think most boys have looked at it from time to time. In my day it was parents liberating their parents magazine stashes. Nowadays it's the internet and electronic means. You can't stop access if he is determined. If you lock down the home computer and his phone then there is still friends computers, friends phones and USB sticks etc. It's all a bit futile. In any event, if you don't make a big deal of it, most kids grow out of it - fundamentally it's pretty boring.

 

The main thing to do is make sure he fully understands the consequences of his actions, and the repercussions of inappropriate behavior. He needs to understand responsibility, that what he posts can ruin his future career, scholarship prospects or, in the worst case, lead to legal consequences.

 

Above all, don't get into a technology arms race with him. It will be futile, and potentially spark resentment and poison any chance of serious discussion.


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  Reply # 1872682 25-Sep-2017 20:02
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JimmyH:

 

If it starts to become a nuisance to him then he will find a way around it, the way kids are wont to do.

 

 

 

 

The first time I tried it, the very first thing my son wanted to look at after it was installed as the Wikipedia page about bacteria. The filter blocked it as 'Japanese Pornography'. Second attempt, much later, was a little more successful, but ultimately more trouble than it was worth. We just keep an eye on them now and tell them not to watch videos in their bedroom. We know that they do, still, but making that decision is part of their learning.





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These comments are my own and do not represent the opinions of 2degrees.


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