|Lake photo- before the account abduction.|
I've been taking a good hard look at my kids lately, and I have been weighing the arguments for the social science argument between Nature vs. Nurture. For those of you not familiar, NATURE is what your children, and you, and EVERYONE inherently get from their forebearers and NURTURE is the type of environment the child grows up in. I tend to believe that dispositions are predisposed, but critical thinking is entirely environmental. The "guidance" part of parenting also has EVERYTHING to do with the way YOU were raised, whether you embrace your past or reject it. But, now what do you do when you are faced with raising a child who is growing up in ENTIRELY different social circumstances than you did?
|These are the Dance moms and their kids. They are RIDIC!|
|Beyonce's Instagram. I also follow Harry Styles. He has artistic photos. |
I'm no Cougarphile. He wears skinny jeans for Pete's sake.
For instance, all my children are excellent twerkers. Just kidding. Well, not really. To be honest, none of us are very good at it. In the privacy of your own home, who cares what you do during family pajama parties, right? It's all well and good until your six-year-old mimicks your 11-year-old, who is mimicking Beyonce - who is spokeswoman for the wholesome Pepsi. For the record, I think twerking was invented by my dog, Scarlett, who likes to do it on top of Mills' stuffed animals. Who would have EVER thought that Scarlett's gyrations would define an entire generation?
|Respect. Mills asked me where she learned to twerk and I said Miley Cyrus. |
Moomoopotamus watches entirely too much late night T.V
I mean, with three girls and "viral technology," how in the hell are you supposed to keep your children innocent, while still remaining AWARE. It is a fine line.
For instance, my daughter Hallie had this Dance Moms Instagram account that was totally innocuous, in which they would switch audio on the video parts of the dance competitions and they had like over 500 followers and they were PSYCHED.
Well, we were at the lake and some girl "KIK"ed Hallie (a frightening form of texting that is instantaneous and "goes away after a few seconds) and asked her to exchange account passwords so they could combine their accounts and long story short, Hallie and her friend's Dance Mom Instagram account, was stolen.
|Look it up, if you aren't already familiar. There is also a video version of this where teenagers are videoing themselves without clothing and thinking that it just "goes away". Nothing "goes away". Just ask Vanessa Williams.|
The part that obviously bothers me the most is that HALLIE GAVE A PASSWORD TO SOMEONE SHE DIDN'T KNOW FROM ADAM, which meant HALLIE WAS COMMUNICATING WITH A COMPLETE STRANGER!
Look, you can say what you want about yourself and your superior parenting skills, but it is only a matter of time before a version of this happens to you and your kid. That is why I am telling this story. Not so you can judge me and form opinions about what I did or did not do right or wrong, but so you can learn from this, and have the AWARENESS I mentioned earlier. Once again, I am a martyr - sacrificing myself and my reputation as a Mother for the sake of others. You're welcome, America!
I have WARNED and WARNED and WARNED my kids NOT TO EVER talk or "kik" or freakin' email or whatever WITH ANYONE THEY DO NOT KNOW.
I have explained to them ALL that just because you have a photo in the corner of an account with an adorable spaniel puppy or little girl with pig tails, it is more often than not, some gross perspiring middle aged man in boxer shorts, wearing a body hair v neck sweater, hunched over his first generation Apple computer luring you in with promises of fame and understanding and whatever else his sick mind can create.
So, I was obvioulsy flabbergasted when she ran downstairs and told me that she had gotten her Instagram account stolen because she traded passwords with a stranger who did not keep their promise and then promptly changed the password and account name and then blocked Hallie because she was in competition with Hallie's Instagram.
I mean, WHAT THE FUCK? My biggest problem when I was 11, was when my bell bottom cords got stuck in the spokes of my bike wheels.
I tend to be nostalgic about my 70's upbringing with it's faux wood paneled station wagons sans seat belts and Falls City Beer ring tab necklaces, but at that moment, I actually had a flutter of sadness that formed in my heart that was a seed of realization that I am bringing up children in a "Technological Age" where they are far more savvy than I'll ever be. My children are more proficient than I am, at something that we have not completely realized the social ramifications of, yet.
It is something that I, and every generation or parent before me, has zero experience with, and therefore, I have zero guidance from anyone, other than my gut and my deductive reasoning skills. My children and I are the prototype for all future generations in terms of raising children with texting, Instagram Accounts, Facebook, and everything else that some 18-year-old douche bag in Product Development (or in his basement for that matter) can imagine.
It is daunting at the very least, and depressing at the very best.
Now, I have always EMBRACED technology, and I am all about MOVING FORWARD, but it is very difficult to do that when your children are more savvy than you are about a huge part of their adolescent social life. I keep trying to come up with an example of generations before me that have had such a jump in advancement in such a short time that impacted the way society interacted, and I just CAN'T. Honestly, the only thing that comes close maybe is the Vietnam War, just in terms of generations divided and young people being drafted into a situation that was entirely different than they anticipated. I'm pretty sure I just insulted a SLEW of Vietnam vets, as they are a large demographic slice of my blog audience, but I am just comparing the generational gaps and cultural phenomenons of the two, not jungle warfare and government-issued LSD experimentation. Ya' dig?
True. I do not have to worry about Mills dying of a dirivitive of the HPV virus because of recent advancements, but I DO have to worry about the emotional and psychological impact that Instagram has on my child when they are not invited to a sleepover and they are continually exposed to a succession of Instagram photos of said sleepover until they finally cry themselves to sleep.
So what is the solution here? Avoid technology? Refuse to let them engage in social media? Fat chance. I don't know about you all, but whenever I have a child over for a playdate who has restricted television priveledges, they are glued to my looping Disney Channel like a crack ho' with a brand new glass pipe.
|That's EXACTLY the way your children look at my house |
as they scarf down illegal ho ho's and watch Good Luck Charlie reruns.
My point is that the only way to truly manage what is going on with the new social media revolution is to police it. There simply IS no other way. If you take it away, there will be a black market for it, and then you have no control or information at all. (READ: Prohibition and Arrested Development reruns.)
It is the equivalent of scrubbing your face in front of your Mom every morning before school and then lugging a purse full of make up to your middle school bathroom. As a parent, you are either part of the conversation or you aren't. Fact.
Here is what I did. Hallie found her account that was hacked and I wrote a comment on the girls' account for all of her (or rather, Hallie's) followers to see. It read as follows:
"This is Hallie's mom. I know you hacked her account and took her password. I am going to contact Instagram and shut down EVERY SINGLE ONE of your accounts (the bitch, or hairy middle aged man, had like 7) if you do not contact Hallie and give her the new password to access her account. You have 20 minutes. GO."
The GIRL immediately KIK'ed Hallie saying that she had no idea what I was talking about. I replied back, "This is her Mother.Time is running out."
The GIRL kik'ed again asking WHICH account Hallie's was.
I replied, "How many accounts have you hacked?"
The GIRL then gave Hallie the new password.
I contacted Instagram and reported the whole thing anyway. That is where it stands right now.
Hallie now has her phone restricted at bedtime and EVERYTHING is an open for me to look at. The whole episode scared the shit out of everyone in our family.
So you know, I hatched this whole plan after a sleepless night of gut wrenching parental soul searching.
No one ever tells you how hard it is going to be when you decide to have that third glass of wine in your twenties and you and your husband decide to just "roll the dice". Parenting is rewarding and explorative and a box full of chocolates and all that other bullshit, but mostly parenting is MENTALLY EXHAUSTING if you have even an OUNCE of self-consciousness, because the beauty of it all, is that you can ALWAYS blame yourself.
That is my advice to you today. Not to NOT have that third glass of wine. That would be ridiculous. And hippocritical. My advice today is to find your new normal, in terms of raising your children in the Age of Social Media. People our age can totally reject it because they are old, and that is what old people do (Andrew), but if you have a child, you cannot ignore it, because it is like a Tsunami. You either take a deep breath and bear hug the trunk of a palm tree or you will end up doing underwater sommersaults into the depths of the ocean.
We cannot afford to be out of touch, y'all. Our children's futures are counting on it.