As you know, if you are following the Ready Girls story, I have 2 teenage daughters and an 8 year old son. Face book and all other social media sites are a hot topic in our house. The reason being that I have rules…….(which I stick too)….relating to my kids usage of the internet and all the social media sites. My rules definitely won’t be to everybody’s cup of tea, my girls certainly aren’t too impressed with them. But I thought I’d share them with you and you can take from it what you want………………….
I can’t remember who made the comment recently, but a female politician asked a question publically “When did we become afraid to parent”. She was speaking in relation to Social Media. I think her point was that as parents we are allowing our children rule the roost in this matter and giving them lots of access to social media sites. Yet, we don’t look at what they are doing there, we don’t offer guidance as to how they should behave there. In other words we don’t parent in this area.
Social media is a relatively new phenomenon and as such many of us (older parents I mean!) are “learning on the hoof” so to speak. As parents, I suppose, it is our job to bring ourselves up to speed so that we can educate our children. Especially if we feel there are dangers that may be associated with anything new they may exposed to. We educate them and set down rules about drugs, alcohol and smoking. We teach them how to stay safe when out and about playing or visitng friends, they are given rules. We teach them how to behave with people and how to respect one another, again there are rules
So why do we feel it is not necessary to do this on Social Media?
Well, for what it is worth, I set down house rules very early on in relation to this whole issue. Now, I can’t say that because I’ve set rules that my children won’t fall foul of this medium, that they won’t break these rules and get hurt here, they are teenagers after all! And like every other aspect of parenting I’m learning in the fast lane too, I can’t foresee every pit fall. But at least its a start. So these rules are ones I have picked up along the way from others and what I have found working for my family, that is all.
My house rules:
- No TV in the bedroom
- No mobile phone until they were 6th class
- No mobile phone allowed in their bedroom at night (a nasty text received, in the dark, in bed, when no one else is around will feel far more nasty than if received in the morning at the breakfast table)
- No facebook page until the appropriate age of 13 – This is the age that face book require and its there for a reason.
- On their facebook page they have to like my page and I theirs – I can at least see some of what is going on on their page.
- When they got their Face Book page they had to agree to me spot checking their page and their DM’s whenever I like – this may seem intrusive but while I seldom do it the fact that I might makes sure that there is less likely to be messing going on there (I Hope!)
- No twitter account until 14
- They have to let me know when they are going on the internet
- No internet in the bedrooms – These last two points just make sure I can check what they are doing on line.
- I talk to them about online things and try to show a knowledge and understanding of the medium. And when the dreadfully sad headlines hit the paper about cyber bullying and its consequences, I talk to them and we discuss what they think about such events.
Now, this may seem very tough and as I say my girls are teenagers. And yes of course it’s not fool proof. But it is something in place to help give them guidelines. I can’t say they will always abide by my rules. But at least if they know there are ground rules, if they know there are dangers in that space (none more so than me finding them breaking the rules ) Then they may, hopefully, be more mature about how they use this medium and enjoy it and use it for the wonderful thing that it is.
Lots of advice for Mums and Dads on Ready Girls blog take a look.