I am a prude.
I mean that. I try not to be but at the core of it…I am.
Not the judgmental type of prude I suppose but more of the “can we teach these kids some morals?” kindof prude.
I probably would be considered a 70 year old trapped in an almost 40 year old body.
I am absolutely stumped by the photos and actions I see tweens and teens showing on the web.
Where are the parents?
Oh wait…they are friends with there kids most of the time so either they are asleep at the wheel OR they approve of the over sexualization of their little girls or the out right bullying they give each other non-stop…or they aren’t even aware their child is online in the first place?
Yesterday I was gabbing with my friends and showing them exactly what I am talking about via a tour of my social media feeds on my phone.
This world that these tweens….we are talking 10-13 year olds here….are in that so many adults are just closing their eyes too.
I can show you Instagram feeds of 11 and 12 year olds almost naked posing like they are going to be in Playboy next week…giving the signature sexy “pout” they so love to give these days…
heaven forbid they give and innocent smile!
It’s all about those sexy duck lips…Daryl demonstrates them beautifully don’t ya think?
When I showed these to Daryl the other day the first thing he said was “Where are these girls fathers!?!”
My answer is “Probably the same place their mothers are…head in sand.”
So many may ask “Whats the big deal…my child is popular! That is what all the “popular” kids do now.”
First off… that is really a lame excuse to slack off on parenting…”popular” will NOT buy your child a happy life.
The big deal for my mom friends who may not understand the full effect of allowing your child to over share on the world wide web? (yes your sweety pie is STILL a child whether they dress for to street walk or not and may look like they are 20….)
Every time your child uploads a picture to the web…via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc…. even if they try and delete it…it will NEVER be fully off the web.
I can pull up every website I have ever had in two seconds even though those websites are no longer even on the web!
So let’s say little girl of 11…dressing in almost nothing….with 1000′s of Instagram/Facebook/Twitter strangers following her every sexually posed image (downloading them most assuredly and doing Lord knows what with those images)….decides at the age of 18 that she would like to go to college.
BUT she will have 6 +years of skimpy clad…party girl…
“My looks are all that matter to me” images…(Sadly these girls appear to only feel their “value” lies in their looks…a whole other rant I could go on)
That those college entrance professionals will take one look at and go “She won’t take college seriously…” and stamp a big “NO” on her application.
Let’s say no worries she actually finds a college that will accept her and perhaps she does earn a degree.
Perhaps she wants to be a Doctor or lawyer or heck…even a politician…the first thing her future possible employer will do?
You guessed it…they will check her social networking for the last decade and find out that she will NOT be a fit.
I just want to scream to these parents
“Parent your child! Protect them! This is YOUR job! If you won’t protect them…who will? The 1000 child predators following their every media move? Texting them because they are posting their cell numbers and saying “Text me!”?”
Not paying attention to what your child is doing online and on that cell phone is such a mistake.
Afraid of what you may find? That you may have to say “no” and hear a tantrum from your whiney tween/teen?
Tough. You signed up for this.
Now finish this parenting thing out. Don’t just stop when they hit 10 and say “they are old enough now….”
Teens need supervisions more than toddlers in my opinion…lol! They need you NOT asleep at the wheel.
They don’t need you to be their best friend…they have plenty of friends…they only have one set of parents to guide them.
I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16.
I could have “boyfriends”. I could go out with a group of friends to the movies, homecoming etc…
But I was never so happy as to have that one single rule.
I didn’t have to worry about making adult choices. I didn’t have to be placed in situations I wouldn’t really know what to do…
I was allowed to be a kid until I was old enough to really understand the consequences of my actions a bit more.
At 12…you have ZERO clue.
Especially if your parents have zero concept (or just don’t care) of what the real consequences of parading online half naked at 12 or bullying another child out in the clear online open will mean 10 years from now…or even three.
Our kids have the same “no real dates until you are 16″ rule.
It’s golden actually.
Actually plan on spending their time learning and being a kid having fun for a bit longer…not focusing all their time on trying to be “cool”.
Will we succeed in making it all the way to 16?
I never say never BUT it gives us a very good window to talk to them often about the “why” that rule is in place…and so far they both seem happy it is there. When it is there why would they spend a ton of time chasing down a date when…they can’t “date”.
They have a lifetime of having to worry about these things.
My bff Jill and I often talk about how we both had that same rule growing up and how all of our friends where dealing with heartbreak and feeling used…depressed etc… from dealing with adult issues…while we were laughing and cutting up. Having a grand old time!
We both tell the kids often how much we appreciated our parents having that one rule.
It got me out of a ton of bad possible dates… “Wanna go out?” Me: “No..sorry I am not allowed to date until I am 16.”
So easy…blame it on the parent.
There is simply NOTHING wrong with being the “bad guy” in your child’s social world.
I am absolutely fine with my kids telling their friends “I am not allowed to do that.” I am not trying to be a “cool mom”.
We are trying to raise amazing future adults with amazing core values and morals.
Future adults that know their value as a human doesn’t lie in how “sexy” they can pose…how “pretty” they are….how “popular” they may become…or how many girlfriends they can juggle at the same time.
Rant almost over…
On a side note…there are so many amazing kiddos out there doing the RIGHT thing.
Setting their Instagram/Facebook/Twitter feeds to “private” so perves aren’t stealing their images as easily and putting them on pedophile websites…
Only “friending” people they ACTUALLY REALLY KNOW… (this house has that rule)
Only posting artsy sweet images….images that won’t haunt them down the road.
Everytime I see those kiddos I think “They have parents that truly care about their child’s future….Good job mom and dad!”
Yesterday I had a long conversation with the kiddos and showed them the differences between a “good feed vs. a bad feed”.
(After all you simply can not keep these kids out of social media…this is the world they will be growing into whether we like it or not.)
One that we find “acceptable” versus one that will get them instantly banned from technology. Spent a long time explaining why and how the images and actions you chose to share online will effect you the rest of your life.
They can haunt you 30 years down the road…
Privacy settings are huge! Repeat after me…”set your child’s privacy settings!”
Our kids may get sick of hearing it one day but they will keep hearing it.
We will be a total pain in their butt…
They will whine at us and complain about our rules no doubt…
We will ALWAYS know where they are…at least until they are 16/17 and then we will slowly lighten up.
They will at some point probably tell us we are horrible and totally “cramping their style”…
I for one will be fine with that.
I know one day they will thank us for caring enough to have clear set “rules” and clear boundaries…even if they mess up.
At least they will know what is “right or wrong”.
Because we will always care enough to do these things…
It’s what we signed up for when we brought them into this world.