Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I have been thinking a lot about social media and our children.  My girls are 9 1/2 and have been asking for cell phones for about a year now.  My husband and I have repeatedly put our foot down and told them no.  I ask them what on earth do they need a phone for?  If they aren't with me they are at school and if they aren't at school they are with another parent.  There is no reason why 9 year olds need a cell phone.  Their response, well all our friends have one.  Forever the reason that kids want something, their friends have it.  Only this time they have something that I find so unnecessary for this age.  The other day a friend of mine at the kids school told me about a 4th grader who was showing other 4th graders porn on her phone.  I was outraged.  Obviously this little girl had no idea what she was showing the other kids, but it didn't stop her from showing it.  And now the kids who saw that porn were exposed to something they shouldn't be privy to for quite some time.  Innocence lost all because our society deems it socially acceptable for elementary school aged kids to have cell phones.

 When I was 17 I received a car phone from my parents.  All the enormous phone could do was call my parents in case I was stranded somewhere.  Now flash forward 15 years and phones can basically do anything for you.  Don't get me wrong I love my phone.  The navigation has saved me from getting totally lost.  So many pictures taken to save a memory I know I will forget. But why do our children need to be a part of it?  I have a facebook and an instagram account.  I adore my instagram account. Facebook is whatever.  But lately I have been having the girls friends request to follow me on instagram.  While I really only post pictures of my family on instagram I feel uncomfortable allowing them to follow me.  When I was younger the mystery of my friends parents was a good thing.  I was taught to respect their privacy.  Now with the ability to follow me on instagram will they loose respect for me because they see the inner workings of our day?  I don't know.  But I do know that it makes me feel uncomfortable.  I fear that my childrens generation is loosing the ability to learn social skills.  I took the kids the other day to get ice cream.  Their was a table of 4 highschool aged girls sitting around all playing with their phones.  No one was talking to eachother.  It was annoying. 

One of the girls friends came over the other day to play.  They were outside when Lily came in to complain that their friend wasn't playing and was just on her phone.  I looked outside and sure enough she was sitting on the swing playing some game.  I went outside and asked her if we could put the phone away so she could enjoy playing with her friends.  She happily obliged and ended up having a great time.  But that is my point.  If we don't step in to teach our children to put the phone down they just won't and that scares me.  My girls think I am so mean that I won't let them have phones and that I won't let them play on mine.  I tell them I would rather be mean if it means that they will learn social skills and imagination.  That if it protects them at least for another couple years from the mean cruel internet.  I'm happy my kids don't know much about facebook or instagram or hashtags.  I wish I didn't know about hashtags!  Our children are only young for so long.  The times of bike rides and skinned knees will be long gone before we know it.  I want their memories of their childhood to be of playing tag and hide and go seek and Disney channel and foursquare. Not of selfies and instagram likes.  The time for that will come. I just don't think it needs to be now.