I was speaking with a friend of mine a few days ago about her life. Recently separated, she was commenting on some issues that she was facing with her child. Her spouse happens to not be playing nice, he is doing what many men attempt to do in order to ease guilt with their kids, he is attempting to buy their child with expensive gifts. One of those gifts was a new iPhone 6. My friend was commenting on the recent behavior by her daughter, how she clearly was having some feelings towards the family issues, & she was genuinely concerned and mentioned that she would love to read her daughter’s texts. Especially the ones to the dad. She also mentioned that her daughter had locked her new phone, and refused to give my friend the passcode. Her daughter is 11.
At this point, I interjected. Respectfully I informed my friend that she had every right as a mother to see everything that her daughter did on that cell phone, especially in this case, due to a lot of emotional feelings that may be experienced. I encouraged her that if her daughter did not want to give her the password, she should take the phone away.
Why do I feel so strongly about this? It’s very simple. Children and phones create a myriad of potential problems. All of a sudden, a person who is highly influenced by others around them has the means to communicate with anyone who wants to communicate with them. Definitely a recipe for disaster. What happened in my friend’s case? The mom did get in to read the texts and the father was saying negative comments regarding the mother. Unacceptable and she needed to have that information in order to help her daughter understand what was going on more clearly.
Think I’m too invasive? Last night I happen to be chatting with another mom in my daughter’s school. Just so happens that 2 8th grade girls recently decided to send nude photos of themselves to another 8th grade boy. This 8th grade boy shared the photo with several of his friends, and of course his 10th grade brother. The 10th grade brother decided to share it with several of his friends and it goes on and on and on.
So now how many of you don’t think we need to be extra cautious with our kids and their phones? These two girls will FOREVER have their nude bodies available for the world to see from one sent picture when they were 13. Again, unacceptable. This should never have happened in the first place, but at some point, catching behavior that needs correcting is better than not catching it.
My daughter befriended someone new at school last week. She is in the 6th grade and attended a new school this year. This new girl seemed nice enough, according to what my daughter told me, and my daughter asked if she could hang out with her next weekend. I said it was possible, we will talk about it as it approached.
Several days later, I decided to take a glimpse at my daughter’s texts. As I’m reading a few of them, making sure all is appropriate, some words caught my eye. They happened to be from this new friend. I ‘loaded earlier messages’ and quickly saw some information that absolutely changed my mind regarding my daughter ‘hanging out with’ this new girl. It wasn’t anything that was extremely disturbing, but it certainly was enough that I knew I had to speak with my daughter, and communicate what was wrong with this girl’s line of ‘thinking.’ Very thankful I read that before the weekend came.
With texts & bullying, boys & pictures, friends who aren’t nice, & general psycho’s out there, it’s simply a good idea to teach children about texting do’s & don’t’s and to constantly monitor your child’s phone to ensure proper use. You are protecting them and possibly saving them from a lifetime mistake.
Now go investigate for yourself and be a parent that cares.