Shock horror… Another post about SAFETY… But I seriously am shocked by what I am reading and I’m questioning whether other peoples young people are frivolously getting away with communicating with their peers without any monitoring?
At what age does that become OK?
Mummagrizzlybear usually uses this blog predominantly to offload about her childs SEN/disability experiences and the topics can be somewhat controversial if not at least thought provoking. There is only a small audience and the writing is mostly for a therapeutic release and to connect with the #virtualvillage of a support network. However, today is different. Today I want to write with the aim of the post being shared far and wide to bring fellow parents and schools together to address a growing concern.
Our children today are ‘growing up’ with far more at their fingertips than we ever had accessible. Whatever your families personal reason or justification for your child/tween or teen having the means to communicate via technology, we as parents need to recognize our role, rights and responsibility around granting the young person this priviledge.
The 3 Rs.
It is a parent/adults ROLE to teach their young person about using devices safely. Talk and show their young person how to keep safe. Help the young person understand legalities and master the unfathomable concept that once they have ‘sent’ something it is out there forever and no longer their property!
It is the parent/adults RIGHT to monitor and protect their young person. Whether we are accused of over protective parenting or not, we have a right to balance privacy with protection. We are caregivers not best friends. Best friends might ‘cover up’ the wrong doing of a pal, caregivers show they care by taking an interest, giving guidance and setting boundaries. Set some parental controls.
It is the parent/adults RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that their young person is operating in a respectful manner in line with rules and regulations. Age restrictions are in place for a reason. A parent overlooking these is simply communicating that rules do not have to be adhered to and subsequently putting their child at risk of being vulnerable. It is a parents responsibility to protect their own child and the others their children are communicating with.
Mummagrizzlybear is a self confessed winging-it parent. I do not profess to have all these parenting issues nailed but I’m passionate about raising my babybears to become decent, respectful and competent adults. My work role often intertwines into my parenting style. As a counsellor I’ll promote ‘communicating’ and listening and as a domestic abuse specialist I’ll advocate ‘healthy relationsips’ and absolutely educate young people about unhealthy ways of operating. I can therefore not just sit with the knowledge that young people in our community (and every other village and town) are sending disgusting messages. I have chosen however to not name-and-shame these young people as I believe that would be just as abusive. Instead lets increase awareness and talk more about tge taboo… I do believe these young people need further guidance and supervision and I believe it is our job as parents to provide this. These young people cannot be stereotyped… They are from every type of family background you can imagine. They include the children you picture as trustworthy as much as the story tellers. The children you know to be reliable as much as those who are terribly misguided. The children who have parents with high expectations as much as those who are neglected. It is potentially all of our children. As they grow, they are learning and testing out their own boundaries as well as those of their caregivers and people in authority. We need to work as a team in our community to promote the best from our young people… No parent should be being singled out as the only strict one.
Some things some adults haven’t even grasped… Do your children know that…?
Once a msg has been ‘sent’ it can never fully be deleted
A msg sent has potentially been screen shot and forwarded to a new audience
A sent msg is no longer your property, it can be used by anyone as evidence
Harassment includes unwanted, persistent communication. It does not necessarily have to be explicitly unkind.
Bullying can be underhand and less than obvious
Abusive msgs are still abusive even if they are not directly sent to the victim of your jokes
Receiving abusive/unkind material makes you an unfortunate recipient, not challenging this makes you a part of it and joining in with it, laughing about it or responding to it makes you just as abusive as the initial sender
3 things I’m proud to see
“That’s not funny, don’t send me that”
“My mum reads my msgs, please don’t use those words”
Mummagrizzlybear has strong morals. In our household we have boundaries and expectations. We talk about it… A lot… My children, however are not angels. They are learning. I cannot possibly help them grow if I am not monitoring the things they are exposed to. Are you aware of the things your child is sending or receiving?
5 things I’d like all parents to discuss with their young person.
- What does being respectful in communication mean
- How to set themselves and their mates boundaries ‘don’t send anything you wouldn’t want your parent/teacher or employer to read’
- Things that are considered abusive
- Ways to stand up for what they believe is right
- When to talk to a grown up for help
If you have read this post and are passionate about promoting a safe and kind environment for young people to be communicating in then please do reflect over your own practices. Think about how you are monitoring your own child’s interaction with others. Revisit the conversations you may have already had about safety and what’s appropriate and respectful. Support your young person to know how to challenge anything inappropriate and how to ask for adult help. Actively be involved with your young person and the social media world.
We cannot ask everyone to set the same boundaries but we can be part of a community talking about promoting safety and respect amongst our young people. If you do discover your own child or their peer is communicating in a style you are not comfortable with think about your options. If safety of a child is in question, do not hesitate, be the whistleblower and take control. If its a question of supporting your child to implement boundaries, guide them. If perhaps you find that certain friendship choices require more supervision than you first expected then cover that. Where you feel it is necessary consider contacting the young persons caregiver direct but be mindful that they may not share or appreciate your views.
In all cases, take responsibility for what you can influence from within your own home.