Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Social Media at Eleven

Social media, can I henceforward just refer to it as the spawn of Satan that it is? I mean it's pretty, it seems harmless enough, but...

Do we need to take our eleven year olds there?

The answer is "yes", and the answer is wrong.

Yet, it is the answer we give everyday when we hand them phones, ipods and devices that unlock their access to the wonderful world of social media.

Even when we think we have restrictions in place; limitations and safe-guards...we are fools.

We haven't just handed them the keys, to the proverbial "gates of hell", we have flung that sucker wide open and driven them through it.

You know why we drove them through?

Because they're not old enough to drive themselves, they are ELEVEN!

Please take a moment and sit in that fact.

They are eleven years old.

I get it, children grow up faster these days, they are exposed to more.

They don't have to be. So I ask you, "Why?"

The why, my friends, is perfectly summed up in these four words of a confident young girl...

"My mom's too lazy."

This was her response to the question in a group text, "Does anyone's mom check their phone?"

Where did her confidence come from you might ask. I will tell you, it came from knowing that no one will look at her phone, no one will check her text messages or group chats. She felt perfectly secure in saying and doing whatever she wanted to.

She's eleven.

Some of you are sitting there feeling pretty smug right now, pretty confident in your own parenting and watchfulness. Let me tell you something. I pray to God that you are right in your assumptions, in your confidence.

I pray, that you are not wrong about your child.

I was wrong about mine.

Do you hear me?

I was every bit as confident as you are feeling right now.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday I picked up my childs ipod to plug it in to charge and I was intrigued by the notifications for instagram. So I clicked on the icon to find out what those eight notifications were...

Did you know that you could do group texting through Instagram? I didn't. If you are laughing right now and saying "of course I knew that!" To that I say "good for you, do you read them?" again you answer, "of course I read them?" (I know at this very moment you are trying to remember the last time you actually did read them and  also making a mental note to read them as soon as you are finished with this...I know you, I am you.) so finally I ask, "What about the ones they delete?"

Have you read those?

You're not smiling right now are you.

It's ok. I'm not either.

You know why? Because when I asked my child about what I had read yesterday, their pained response was "I deleted it".

"I deleted it!"

Are you paying attention now.

I didn't even see what they deemed bad enough to delete.

Dear God, what could it have been.

Oh guys, you have to listen to me. Seriously, we have to back the car up and get them out of there. They don't have the ability to grasp the consequences of their actions, but we do. Are you listening to me, WE DO!

"Oh my child knows better, they know if I ever catch them..."

Yeah, yeah we all know. We also know, that you are not going to, because...

"My mom's too lazy."

It's easy. It's easy to say yes and let them have and do what everyone else is doing. Here's the deal...and you already know, the right thing is rarely easy.

Our children know that.

You know how I know they know? Because my child was saying "they just...", "they said...", "He...", "She..." and finally...

"it was hard to say 'no' "

No, is a big hard word, especially when you are eleven and in way over your head.

It's hard for all of us to say sometimes.

I want you to know, what I know.

They are eleven and they are exposed to a lot of things that are confusing and a lot of things they don't understand, but they are figuring it out with lightening speed. You are right about one thing, kids grow up a lot faster than they used too...

But only if we let them.

So what do we do?

Honestly, I am still wading through that, figuring out what is the right thing for my children.
I know that I don't want to read the words of eleven year olds that say things like, "He had his hand on my thigh" and "He will probably be the first one to kill himself". I don't want to read texts from eleven year olds talking about who is "lit" and the fact that all of this is riddled with profanity, well I can assume you are at least not surprised by that one.

My guess is you don't want to read these things either.

Maybe, that is why you don't.

They are only eleven, it's not too late.