Being out of the baby/preschool stage is fifty shades of awesome. There are no diapers, no bottles, no limp-noodle meltdowns.

(I remember being seven months pregnant with Nathan at a large wholesale chain and carrying a flailing Graham on one hip while balancing hanging flower baskets on my other hip and wondering why NOBODY HELD THE DOOR OPEN FOR ME.)(Jerks.)

While having kids in The Golden Years of childhood is great, it is not necessarily smooth sailing. There are issues that are weren’t on the radar when I first decided I was ready to throw forth babies from my loins.

Cell phones. Facebook. Twitter. Gmail.

My oldest son is in fourth grade this year (!). He had friends last year (in third grade) who had cell phones. CELL PHONES. IN THIRD GRADE. He would casually ask if he could have a cell phone too and I would reply as calmly as I could.

No. NO. NOOOOOOO.

We live in a small town and if his friends need to call him they can call our home line. If they need to talk to him during school hours they can, you know, talk to him in the school yard. I cannot think of a single reason that a child would need  cell phone in fourth (or third) grade.

As for Facebook I will continue with my eloquence and sum it up as above.

No. NO. NOOOOOOO.

I had a relative’s nine-year-old request me as a Facebook friend last year.

No. NO. NOOOOOOO.

I mean, do what you want to do, but that’s not happening in my house. My kids do not need to be on Facebook. And when the time comes that they are on the Internet, we have rules we’ve already discussed.

1. There will be no computers in their bedrooms. (Because, OF COURSE.)

2. Computers will be in a public area, be it the kitchen table or the family room. (Because, OF COURSE.)

3. When they do join FB, their Dad and I will be (unrestricted) friends. (Because, OF COURSE.)

Lest you think I am archaic and a total hosebag, Sir Graham came home from school last week with his friend’s gmail address written out on a piece of fullscap and he asked if he could have a gmail account. Matthew set it up on his laptop — with the agreement that we had to know his password at all times — and G and I started emailing.

We spent the next twenty or so minutes emailing (Knock-knock jokes, FTW!) and he thought it was pretty fun. He hasn’t asked to log in again and I’m most definitely not going to push it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this whole new (online) territory for kids because it’s all new to me.

*Said in the voice of Optimus Prime. Of course.

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  1. Hannah September 19, 2011 1:26 am edit

    I feel the same way, and will have the same kind of internet/FB rules that you have mentioned here. It’s a big bad (wide web) world and we do need to be so careful. Love the email convo between you & Graham! :-)

  2. Dawn K. September 19, 2011 7:57 am edit

    Oooh! I can’t wait for this conversation to develop! My almost 9 year old stepdaughter hasn’t shown much interest yet, but I know it’s only a matter of time. I need to learn more about parental settings on our computers.

  3. mpotter September 19, 2011 9:23 am edit

    here’s hoping that the internet will implode & cell technology will go retro (like all good fashion items- helllllooooo tightroll from 1988!)
    in, oh, 5 more years.

    until then, i will quake with fear.
    but i’m with you on all counts! and i’m not a user of FB myself, but i have been told you’re supposed to be 13 anyway…..

  4. Amelia September 19, 2011 9:36 am edit

    I totally agree with holding out as long as you can with cell phones and Facebook. My son was not allowed to have Facebook until he turned 13 (That’s their rule, right? I’m not sure how well they enforce it). He just turned 14 last week and, (“Gasp!” say all of his friends) he does not have a cell phone. Seriously, why does he need one when he is not personally driving himself around anywhere without me? His friends can just call on our house phone (They’re probably thinking, “Your parents still have a landline?”). I think that we will be holding out for one more year, at least.

  5. Mrs. Wilson September 19, 2011 9:46 am edit

    Kaylie’s friends have cell phones, too. When she asked for one, I told her she could have one when she could pay for it herself. She has a gmail address, but only because she needed it for her Facebook account, which she has for the sole purpose of playing Farmtown and other such games with my mom. If she wants to go on, I log in first, because, well, obvious reasons.

    Kaylie has told me that she has free time on the computers at school, which makes me kind of uncomfortable. She says they’re not allowed on FB, and we’ve had the chat about staying far, FAR away from chat rooms.

    We don’t allow unsupervised computer time, besides the rare time the girls are using it as a DVD player. Kaylie rarely uses the computer at home, though, about once a week at most. Go play outside, kid!

  6. C @ Kid Things September 19, 2011 10:50 am edit

    My oldest, who will be 8 in November, has been online playing games since he was 3. Of course, he’s branched out a bit since. I did set up a FB for him, but only because his friend from school was on it. I have full access to it, however, and he only goes on now to play games or chat with me across the room. The computer is in plain sight in our main living area and I keep an eye on everything he does, but I don’t really restrict too much where he can go because he already knows what sites are off limits himself.

    I’m torn on the cell phone idea. It would be nice to have in case something happens. But other than that, what does a kid need with a cell phone?

  7. alimartell September 19, 2011 11:05 am edit

    my two oldest kids have Facebook accounts but no cell phones.
    I am 100% comfortable with this because their passwords are the same; meaning everyone in the house has access. The kids use it to a)play games and b) talk to their relatives – they have cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents in israel, montreal, nashville, milwaukee, atlanta, australia…so it’s a great communication tool. They have rules that have been set by us. And they have never abused it.

    They don’t have cell phones because they really have no reason for them; they are never without access to a home phone, our phones or, you know, they are at school. Maybe once they have more freedoms I might see a need for cell phones, but right now I can’t justify it, no matter how much they beg :)

  8. Kami September 19, 2011 11:22 am edit

    This territory we have not yet entered…and I am quite happy about that. When we do, it will be hell to the no for FB and cell phones. Email, we’ll talk.

    :)

  9. Nolita September 19, 2011 12:59 pm edit

    My 9 yr old has a gmail account (so she can have that Build-A-Bear e-mail sent to her email) and a cell phone, no FaceBook and I don’t friend my brother’s or cousin’s kids if their parents are foolish enough to let them have a FB account. I don’t see a need for children to have FB accounts. “For the games” is BS (for adults and children IMO). Emi has a cell phone because she walks/bikes to school sometimes and has after school clubs/activities and we need to be in contact. She is not allowed to contact anyone other than us, her grandmother and the police. I felt safer allowing her to walk/bike with a cell phone even though I got by just fine many years ago. ;.)

  10. Nolita September 19, 2011 1:20 pm edit

    Also, no computer or TV in her bedroom. When she’s online, she’s in a room with us…

  11. Kerri Anne September 19, 2011 6:10 pm edit

    I seriously can’t believe how many kids have cell phones and perpetual internet access (wi-fi everywheeeeere!) when we grew up without a computer (save for a hilariously ginormous one that was only used for word processing, and even then not until I was in high school), and didn’t get a cell phone until I was in COLLEGE, and even then only because I was making a 9-hour drive whenever I was coming home and my mom didn’t like the idea of me being stuck on the road somewhere with no way to call for help. I didn’t even ever use it while I was on campus. So amusing.

    I agree that there just isn’t a reason for kids to have cell phones, pretty much period. And yeah, Facebook. Oy, Facebook.

  12. Fizzy Liz September 19, 2011 7:48 pm edit

    I always thought this was a COMPLETE no-brainer, but when I mentioned a similar topic – spousal email privacy – to my sis-in-law, she was all, “that’s just crazzzzzy!”

    I think that with kids, tech is a go, but privacy is not. Everything will be accessible at all times, and I’ll be able to go right onto their accounts – not just look in as a “friend.” I’ll probably have their emails auto-forwarded to me, possibly without them knowing (they’ll know I’m watching, but not HOW for as long as possible).

    As for spousal privacy: that’s out too. My hubs and I have separate email accounts, but we know the passwords and phones are never off-limits to each other. We don’t hardly USE these freedoms, but a good marriage doesn’t fear them! (LOL I sometimes ask hubs to take a photo of wherever he is while he’s at work! It’s funny to us, but only because we both feel secure. We joke about how he can defeat my surveillance…)

  13. Ashley September 19, 2011 9:34 pm edit

    You’ve pretty much summed up our rule plan exactly. Except you forgot the part where I freeze time (when they are in the “awesomeness” moment, not the other moments) forever so I don’t have to face the internet and them :-)

    We will be cautious about what they do and don’t do when it comes to the internet and social media, just like we’ll discuss with them why. The world, both online and off is dangerous and Corey and I believe firmly that educating ourselves and our girls, having conversations is the only way we’ll be able to battle those dangers. That and a whole lotta time spent on our knees in prayer – we do have girls who will one day be teenagers after all :)

  14. Nenette September 19, 2011 10:10 pm edit

    My 9yo son has a gmail account in his name and is on twitter under a pseudonym. He knows he’s not allowed on Facebook until he’s 13.

    We have all of his passwords and accounts.

    Definitely no to cellphones at this age. Ditto with a computer in his room. Heck, I’m not comfortable with the idea of him ever having a TV in his room!

    I think it’s because we spend so much more time on the interwebs than your average parent that we’re so much more protective of our children. It’s a big world in there.

  15. Danica September 19, 2011 10:50 pm edit

    We just signed Adora up for gmail too a couple of weeks ago.
    It’s a good age – they can type sentences. She loves exchanging e-mails with her grandparents.
    Facebook. No way no how.
    Last spring Matt built her a computer in her room – and then he gave her internet. I was like, no no no no no no NO! But he set it all up with a special program that will only let her visit websites that he has pre-approved with his fancy-dancy Daddy passoword, and it sends us both reports of every single page she has visited and for how long. And she MUST have her bedroom door open when she’s online and I’m constantly popping my head in to check because I’m a paranoid freak.
    So far, so good.
    PS – this is a fabulous website I found for imaginative children. storybird dotcom. Fabulous I say.

  16. Eric's Mommy September 20, 2011 4:26 am edit

    That is so cute. We just let Eric get an e-mail account (he’s 9) for the first few days he was checking it constantly, now not so much. I send him e-mails from work and a couple of my friends e-mail him too.

  17. Vicki September 20, 2011 8:45 am edit

    Yes, yes, and, um, yes! We have also already decided that when facebook first gets introduced (I shudder at the thought), we the parents will be the ONLY ones to have the password. Haven’t decided a timeline for ‘her’ to have the password but that’s okay because we’re not there yet. Maybe in another 10 years. Wouldn’t that be nice?

  18. Sizzle September 20, 2011 9:28 am edit

    The only reason I can think that a kid would have a cell phone is for emergencies (since pay phones seem to be coming obsolete). That is IT.

    I’m still giggling about you using the term “hosebag”. Ha.

  19. Amanda September 20, 2011 9:43 am edit

    LOL. Yes, It’s a total trade off. I think I prefer the gmail to the noodle-limp tantrums and sippy cups. :)

  20. Angela September 20, 2011 9:47 am edit

    Wow, we are living parallel lives in this way! My son is in Grade 4 this year too, and this summer, we allowed him to buy himself an iPod Touch. So, he can IM and email with me. I set him up with a gmail account. I have to say, I LOVE getting emails from him during the work day. He doens’t usually have much to say though, except to tell me the dog’s (or his sister’s) fart stinks. LOL! He uses FaceTime with a few of his friends who go to different schools, and one who moved out of province this past summer. I send him Calendar invites for his events (for him – auditions, hockey, music lessons, when school dismisses early, etc). My family’s schedule is ruled by my Blackberry, so I figured I might as well get his iPod Calendar synched up. He loves it. The rules with us are: I have to know ALL his passwords, all the time (email, iPod device, etc). He can’t download anything off iTunes without asking us (plus, we hold the password….). I am at liberty at ANY MOMENT to pick up his iPod and read his emails, and see what’s installed on it (and I do). He’s not allowed to take it to school (other kids do though). I can take his iPod away as punishment (and I do). He is not allowed on FB, although he has asked (I have about a half dozen friends who have kids younger than 13 YO who ARE on FB….). I guess that’s about it for our rules. He’s begging for a phone. I’m not sure why – we have a family landline, but he rarely calls his friends. We’ve decided he won’t get a phone – yet. Not sure when we’ll break down. Because, after all, that iPod Touch can just go to his sister for her turn to learn to be technically savvy……lol!!!!!

  21. whoorl September 20, 2011 4:52 pm edit

    Oh, man. Seriously? Graham on the internet? THIS IS ALL HAPPENING TOO FAST.

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