My pre-teen son is very social. He’s at a new middle school, where he has met new friends, but still keeps in constant contact with his elementary school friends.
I am reminded of my pre-teen years, when I started junior high not knowing anyone. I really didn’t keep in touch with the kids from my elementary school. It was harder then.
We had two phones in our house. Most of the phone conversations had to take place in the family room with everyone listening. I only had a six foot radius in which to maneuver a private conversation – in other words, there were no private conversations.
Today, my son uses Instagram, Kik, Skype and probably a couple of new applications that pop up every other day. He participates in several conversations at the same time and even chats with friends he has never met. And, he can conduct these conversations from any room in the house — although oddly does so in the family room while watching TV with my husband and me.
When I realized this was happening, we had to have an internet safety discussion – otherwise known as “The Talk #2.”
He didn’t realize there could be creeps on the internet stalking naïve kids. It used to be that the dangerous people had to be physically close, now they only have to be virtually close. Now all his accounts are private and followers must ask his permission. (He asks me if he doesn’t recognize a screen name). He’s not allowed to post photos of our friends’ kids without the parents’ permission. And, we must have access to his accounts. (I promised not to stalk him, but I kind of do.)
I’m conflicted about the benefit of all this communication, but must resign myself to the new normal.
If you have a kid, make sure you know how and with whom they are communicating. And if you become your kid’s stalker in the process? Well, so be it.
Tags: instagram, internet stalkers, junior high school, kik, middle school, skype