I do not know where I stand regarding my kids and technology.
It’s a constant battle in my head.
On the one hand, I realize that technology is now a thing. The thing.
I understand that it’s not going anywhere and the kids need to know how to use it efficiently and responsibly.
And I don’t hate it, myself, obviously. I love Facebook, and I write a blog. So technology is kind of crucial.
But keeping up with all the different platforms is not easy for me.
I can’t keep up with my Twitter and Instagram. And forget all the comments on Facebook.
Then there are the kids.
Number 3 isn’t really all that interested in social media.
He has an iPod, but he really just wants to watch YouTube videos.
About a year ago, he opened up a Snapchat account. He was 11 at the time. I let him have it because all he really did was use those filters that change your voice, and I have to admit, they were pretty funny.
He and the rest of the kids would make Snapchats (is that what you even call them?) and laugh and have fun.
It didn’t take long for Number 3 to get friends. Or followers. Or whatever you call them. They were mostly his friends from the swim team.
I monitored what he was doing on there fairly often. He wasn’t all that interested in using it to communicate with people.
Number 6, who was six years old at the time, became semi-obsessed with Snapchat. I thought it was cute. He just made videos of himself and watched them.
So I didn’t mind.
But Number 6 is the tech-savviest kid in this house. If any of us have a technology-related question, we go to him. He’s like the Rain Man of technology. It’s just the way his brain works.
And it didn’t take long for him to start snapchatting with some of Number 3’s friends.
When I realized my six-year-old was communicating with thirteen-year-olds and I had absolutely no idea, (even though it was totally harmless) that’s when the Snapchat account was deleted.
It was just too much for me to stay on top of.
This past week while we were away in Richmond, Number 4 managed to open her own musical.ly account with the help of a team mate.
I had no idea she did this. The teammate had his own phone and together, they opened an account for her.
Then she accessed the account on the iPad I let the kids use, and she was able to post videos from there.
I only realized she did this after I noticed her not wanting me to see what she was doing on the iPad.
She fessed up and begged me to keep the account.
All her friends had one. She wouldn’t do anything bad. PLEEEEEEASE, MOM.
So I caved.
We had a talk. The account needed to be private. She could only have followers she knew. I would monitor what she posted on there.
She promised me she’d be responsible.
It took approximately ninety seconds for her to become obsessed and to tell me how many likes (or whatever you call them) she already had.
When we left the hotel on Sunday morning, she “could not leave” until she made a musical.ly saying goodbye to everyone.
Everyone else was doing it.
To be honest, I don’t know exactly how musical.ly works.
Because of that fact alone, my gut was not sitting right with this.
When we got back to CT, I checked her account. She had several videos with her tongue sticking out a la Miley Cyrus.
This is fine if you are eighteen and realize what you are doing.
But not when you are ten.
I had a talk with Number 4 about that. She didn’t understand why I was concerned.
I know she didn’t mean anything by it, but Musical.ly was seriously stressing me out.
Later on Monday afternoon, Number 4 was on the iPad again. She was watching other peoples musical.lys.
I was not in the room at the time, and to be honest, I didn’t even know she had the iPad. But as siblings who are close in age often do (especially at this stage in the summer when we have all spent quite a bit of time together in relatively close quarters) Number 3 and 4 were pissing each other off. Number 3 got the iPad, and he wrote a comment on a musical.ly Number 4 was watching.
One of Number 3’s go-to comments is You’re garbage.
He uses it when he’s joking around. There is a time and a place where it’s okay.
For instance, he has a friendly rivalry with a girl on the swim team. They swim some of the same events, and their times are about the same. At Zones this weekend, this girl swam faster than Number 3 in one of their events. When her mom told Number 3 he had a great race, he responded to her with, I’m garbage!
It’s a running joke with them, and in that situation, I’m okay with him saying that.
But when he posted the comment You’re garbage on one of Number 4’s friend’s musical.lys, that was not okay.
Number 4 was understandably upset.
Number 3 was not really aware of how serious a comment like that could be.
So that was the end of the Musical.ly account.
My kids are not ready to handle all the responsibilities that come along with social media. I believe that 13-year-old age guideline is in place for a very good reason.
But it’s not just the kids who aren’t ready.
I am not ready or capable of handling the responsibility of monitoring devices and accounts for multiple kids who are twelve-years-old and younger.
It’s just too much.
So although they are unhappy about it, although they may be the only ones in the whole school without a phone or Snapchat or Musical.ly, although this makes me the World’s Meanest Mom, I don’t care.
The kids still have some growing up to do, and I still have some educating to do.
And in a couple years when we are all more mature and better equipped, maybe then we’ll give it another try.