An incident involving social media, the internet and my kids had me fuming over the week-end.
They like to text because it lets them feel connected and feel as if they can have a private moment with a friend, no matter where they are or what else they’re doing.
Kids are gravitating toward the highly visual apps that provide instant sharing (and instant gratification) without much effort!
My ten year old managed to successfully transmit a video clip of a rap in which he used the "N" word. My wife and I were horrified. He was not meaning to be racist, but obviously failed to understand the impact of his words. His judgment and impulse control is not yet fully developed. He failed to even understand the consequences of his actions let a lone that everything can be seen by a vast, invisible audience - friends of friends.
On Vine, users create and post 6-second videos, which are often also shared on Twitter and Facebook. I had no idea that this program was even on his iPod. With an unverified confirmation of the age requirement, users are ready to post video fairly easily. The app appears to be the rage with pre-teens and teens at the moment despite a 17+ rating in iTunes.
We are constantly bombarded by explicit language, in music, videos, television and video games. The more pervasive it has become, the less sensitive we seem to be. There are ratings on lyrics and games for a reason. Just because other kids in their class have it doesn’t mean your child needs it.
I have learned a few lessons: We need to keep a much closer eye on the lyrics of the songs my kids are accessing on You-Tube; I have to change my I-Tunes account password; My kids need to know that abusing the privilege of texting has consequences - inappropriate communication is a no-go. The gadgets are gone; and we have to rethink the concept of internet privacy in our household. I really despise the idea of snooping but as a parent, I need to ensure that my kids use powerful technologies safely and responsibly.
It has been a sobering and embarrassing experience.
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