It's no secret that I enjoy many different forms of social media, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that helping my girls navigate growing up with it is concerning.Twelve years ago when they put that little pink bundle in my arms social media wasn't even a thing... at least not in the broad sense it is today. Obviously I personally feel these sorts of platforms have value... there are many fantastic people I've had the opportunity to meet and get better acquainted with via social media. I've worked on some very excellent projects that have relied heavily on social media.Without question this whole adventure has been a huge learning experience for me and I have the benefit of several decades of life under my belt.
And so here we are.... I have girls who have never grown up with social media before and they have a Mom who's never raised kids with social media. As wonderful as I may think many of those platforms are..... I realize they can become dangerous tools if not handled correctly. It's enough to keep me up at night if I'm being honest, and we're learning together the girls and I. Thus far we've dipped our toes into instagram, facebook and texting. I'm probably lucky that so far she has only a passing interest in any of them. She'll pop up every now and then with a few clicks to like a picture or three and maybe a one word comment if you're lucky then she's gone again for several weeks.
I am that Mom though. I have her passwords and I routinely check her accounts and messages. Last week when a little brouhaha began stirring via text message the three of us (Mike included) looked at each other... now what. It's easy for the Mama Bear to get all riled up when your cubs are being "threatened" in any measure no matter how small, but that's not always the best way to handle it. My first instinct was to coach her on how to handle the issue herself and she appreciated it, even if it did very little to shut the issue down. In fact the issue escalated a little bit and she was both upset and perplexed as to why this was even happening. At that point we decided to step in, I messaged back identifying myself, asking that the messages stop at that point and suggesting that any further problems should probably handled between the child's Mom and I. The messages from all fronts stopped immediately and an apology was offered shortly there after.
Did I handle it correctly? Who's to say? I mean I achieved the desired end result, but only time will tell if it did more harm then good. To be fair, I have to assume that the messagers had no idea the full extent of what they were doing. I'm sure if you suggested that it smacked of bullying they would be shocked.... or at least I hope that to be true. On the receiving end it was an opportunity to have a long talk about how not to behave and how quickly these sorts of applications can go from fun to not so fun. She also seems to have gotten over the whole incident, which really only amounted to a morning wasted, a lot quicker and easier than I have, but that's because my fear is this is only just the beginning and I only hope we can manage to get them both through to their adulthood relatively unscathed. In the grand scheme of things this was a relatively minor skirmish, but it was certainly enough of an eye opener for all of us.
Do you have tweens and/or teens? How are you handling their social media use?