What is with kids and their desperate need for cell phones and social media. Is it just where I live or is it everywhere? I mean, kindergarteners have cell phones now and if your kid doesn’t have one and their friends do, well then you’re deemed the crappiest mom ever and they will make sure you know it too. Harsh? Yes, but its the truth unfortunately. As parents we so desperately want to give our kids the things we didn’t have. A better life if you will. We want it so bad that we will go out and buy our child a new iPhone so they don’t feel left out or feel like they have less than everyone else. Even though it may be the best of intentions it’s not always the best of ideas.
As the years have progressed and my kids have grown up, life around them has rapidly changed. Cell phones and the desperate need to use social media has become a mothers worst nightmare. I have been put through the ringer just with this one particular subject alone. If you aren’t careful and don’t take the appropriate precaution from the very beginning (PSST…. I didn’t and it bit me in the butt bigtime) it will end up costing your entire family a whole lot of unnecessary grief. Social media for kids becomes no different from handing your kid a bottle of vodka and a stack of porn and saying “have at it!” if you don’t monitor them. The things our kids find a way to get their hands on is crazy. If a kid wants to view it, they seem to find a way or just do it be damned the consequences. In our home you get a cell phone when you reach Jr. High. So beginning this year we have five kids who had a cell phone. In the beginning we tried to trust our kids and give them some freedom eg: rope to hang themselves with. After some time, we realized we had made a huge mistake by not monitoring our kids cell phone and social media usage. It was damage control time. We put accountability software on everything electronic in our home. It was a huge deterrent for the vast majority of our kids to be good on their phones but unfortunately it wasnt a large enough deterrent for all of them. After some time we just decided that social media for our kids was doing far more bad than good for our kids. So this is why my husband and I decided NO MORE SMART PHONES. Our kids were so angry you could’ve seen smoke coming out of their ears when we came home with the good old-fashioned flip phone! You would think I would’ve felt bad but nope! I felt great. If you can’t use a phone appropriately e.g. call people you need to, answer when the person who bought the phone calls you, not use foul language via texts, stay off snap chat, don’t post unbecoming pics on Instagram, really, just don’t be an idiot. Well then, you have a basic flip phone now.
As parents, we want to do a great job but we also really want our kids to like us. So we let them get away with far too much and are way too lenient in order to keep them from shutting us out. Especially during those teen years. It’s that last-ditch effort we make to hold on to our babies before they grow up and leave us. Something I’ve learned through my almost 16 years of parenting is that I don’t need to try to make my kids like me because my kids love me. I can take away everything they own in an effort to teach them and as long as I make it clear why i’ve done it and that I did it fully because I wouldn’t be a good mother if I hadn’t, their anger will subside and they will love me just the same.
So parents, don’t be afraid to monitor your childs devices. Don’t be afraid to take those devices if they just refuse to use them the way you intended they be used. especially when you spent your hard-earned money on them. Lastly, don’t be afraid to just say “No sweetheart. Youre 9. Mommy didn’t get a flippin’ cell phone till she was 26 so please stop your whining and go draw mommy a picture.”