Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Instaselfie #kidsthesedays

Nice duck face- Jane. 
 My almost 12 year-old daughter- likes to hold her hand up in front of her face when I take a picture.
 This same girl has managed to take A LOT of pictures of herself with my phone. 
 I want to protect my kids and I want to  encourage them to interact with  peers using face to face conversations, not through electronics.  It is easy for me to become frustrated with her keen interest in social media.
Then I remember what it was like to be an 11 year-old. 
From 3rd to 10th grade I lived in a town different from my school. This town was not only 20 minutes away from my school,  it was also a long-distance phone call.  Meaning if a majority of my classmates wanted to talk to me on the phone, it would cost extra money. Money that a majority of our parents were not willing to pay. 
It was my "first-world" problem of the late 80's and 90's that I resented.  
In 2015 in the world of my daughter, the kids don't call each other up that much. Her classmates in particular use Instagram.  When she approached me about getting account, I was quick to say no.  There are several books in print dedicated to the subject of the evils of the internet and its affect on children. I haven't read a single one because I use the internet daily, I don't have to be told it is not a safe place for  kids and sometimes, adults. 
The reality is, it is no longer 1990. Soon enough my kids will have complete autonomy, they will go into the world and make their own choices.  One of my jobs as a parent is to guide my 21st century children through their culture, without it consuming them.  

Jane began taking pictures of her self with our ipod way before she had much access to the internet. The "selfie" craze might just be a human nature thing. 

Elliot having a go. 

I agreed to an Instagram account that is accessed on my phone. At this point Jane does not have her own phone, so it was the only way it was going to happen.   
A kid will post and say things on the internet that they might not necessarily do in front of their parents. Which of course can often be disturbing, but what I am finding these days is  amusing. If parents tune into their kids social media, they no longer have to "snoop" in bedrooms or read diaries, they tell the world these days.
 The girls that are in her circle are mostly about having fun with their friends and post pictures of their families, pets, hobbies.  Their views on boys? Well to some they might no longer be gross, but a lot of the girls still see them as pesky.
The girls care about modesty, encouraging one another, and take care on how they treat each other.  I know that can't be found everywhere, even at her young age and I am really thankful that is her world for the time being. 

upside to the new account, she doesn't fight taking photos as often as she did.
This was at the 6th grade send off at TCS. A special time at school to say good-bye and pray for the 6th graders as they head off to middle school. 

 Only thing that makes it better is Elliot doing a photo bomb at the Whitecaps baseball game. Both my kids- bonus!
  I think I have found his motivation for taking pictures.  
Although 21st century issues can be frightening to me, they really aren't all that different from when I was a kid.  It comes down to the heart of the matter and I will continue to reach out and connect with my kids in the physical and virtual world.