“I sent my 10-year old daughter to a sleepover, and they watched YouTube videos the entire time!” A friend shared her frustration. ‘Aren’t little girls supposed to be telling stories and painting nails?’
We sat together, four moms,in a rare conversation…each with a similar story, an emotional thread to contribute. I don’t have a daughter, but it’s the same with boys.
Screen freedom at social gatherings is a much bigger deal than anyone likes to make it. Do you agree?
When kids hang out, are we curious enough about their technology? For the sake of innocence, and guarded for their path, we have to be. What do they see? What do they share? What fills their minds? And how is it affecting them?
A parent can never fully retrace their child’s experience online. It’s just not really possible.
We all know, there’s so much to consider when it comes to social media and screens. Cyberbullying, social media pranks or dares, explicit sexual content, fake identity, pressure to participate, “nudes” (as kids are calling them), etc. — Morale is challenged at every turn, and it’s taking a toll on us, on our kids, and their friends.
With just one click, people are forever changed by these little devices. And it’s happening daily.
So what do we do?
I don’t want to go ‘there’ without some kind of resolution.
We have to communicate as parents…carefully and honestly. This is a new role for me, and maybe for you too. These are some ideas to think about, and I wonder if you agree. (Also, I’m just beginning to try these things out & know it’s not going to be easy!)
6 Considerations When Talking with Other Parents |Kids & Technology
Boundaries~ Decide and communicate them as a family, before expecting anything somewhere else.
Respect~ Without concern for one another, a conversation about the kids and devices is a lost cause. If a parent doesn’t show care for another’s values, maybe the kids should keep some distance. It’s not that everyone has to agree, but there should be respect for each other’s boundaries.
Clear Communication about Expectations ~ This is the tricky one. I mean, it really calls us out of the comfort zone. And personally, I have a lot of growing to do here. If our kids share technology with someone else’s, there has to be an exchange between parents about the details. (Agh, it’s even hard to say that out loud. This isn’t something anyone really does, at least not in my circle.) Here are some things we should agree on~
Social Media Availability
Location of Screens in the Home
Time limits or Restraints (esp. at a sleepover)
Video Game Approval
Ability to Download or Delete Apps
The Possibility of Removing Technology Altogether for the Event
- Sacrifice for Differences ~ There will be differences. There might be a few, or there might be a lot, but families rarely share exact standards. And if we agree to let our kids hang out with someone else’s, everyone has to feel comfortable. It might take some sacrifice (for our kids and for us).
- Accountability Assurance~ After expectations are spoken, what kind of monitoring will take place? How will I keep an eye on all of this in my home, and how will they…in theirs.
- Trust or Distance ~ If we’ve come this far, and still don’t trust a situation for our child (children), distance might be needed. How very difficult this is, we need confidence for their protection.In this season, we’re stunned by the need to speak up. It is so.not.easy. Would you add anything to add to this list?
Join the Conversation~Together We Thrive!