My friend, boogiemum wrote a great post on the usage of MySpace and kids.
I realize this is a pretty big debate right now. The use of computers and cell phones and instant messaging and all that. I am not too shy to say that my children do not have access to the internet unless supervised. They are not members of MySpace or any other friend to friend chatty type thing. I feel the risks so outweigh the gains. They do not have cell phones. I do not see the point. Much to my oldest's dismay. She wants one. For what, I ask? Cuz they are cool. Cuz I can then talk to my friends. Okay, that is what we have a regular phone for. Yeah, she says, but it is not as cool. Maybe not, but thats what you get. You can choose not to use it. That is still a choice, but in choosing not to use it it does not in anyway increase your chances of getting a cell phone. It just decreases how much you get to talk to your friends. Even on the landline the oldest gets 1 hour of phone time per day. Yes, I am strict.
When they become older and I see the reason for them to have one my feelings may change. Say, when they are like 21! No, really, say when they begin to drive and need it for an emergency or they begin to submerge themselves in school activities and we need to stay connected. But in that event the usage will still be limited and there will be very well laid out rules.
I was shocked one time when my oldest had a friend over and I found out that she(the friend) had been making calls on her cell phone up in the bedroom. And invited another friend over to my house. All without my permission. Yes, my daughter should have been more aggressive in the way she told this friend that it was not a good idea.... Okay, first of all..my opinion is that she shouldnt have even brought the phone with her. Much less used it without permission. The way I parent my children may be different than others, but it is no surprise. I am very open and upfront with other parents on what I think is okay and not okay for my child. So, if you choose to let your child have a cell phone, but know fully that I do not then I feel like in my home it should be my rules that take precedence. If that is a problem than I guess your child need not come over. Just like if my child comes to your place and you are aware that she is not allowed on the computer without supervision and you as the parent feel that you are not up to that task then by all means let me know. And she will not come over. I understand that we all parent differently and I so get that..but be respectful of how we each parent.
And the big one...when do you feel it is okay to leave your child home alone? My oldest knows that she is not allowed to be left alone. If a parent will not be home at all times when she is going to a friends then she simply does not get to go. As bummed as she is...she also knows it is not worth the time or energy to question me on this one. Not yet. I am sure there will come a time and I am trying to prepare myself for that. I know in the near future it will come up and I am trying to find a way to take baby steps into it.
When I was pregnant with my first child everyone always said to me that the first 3 years are the hardest. I strongly disagree. Sure, at that age kids are fussy and messy and trying to come into who they are. Trying to test the waters. But, heck, arent they always trying to test the waters? It just becomes bigger waters, right? As the kids become older and begin to float out there on their own in school or sports or whatever....the parents influence does not remain the largest. It very clearly shifts to friends and outside influences. That is why as a parent you have to work even harder to make sure that your kids are well equipt to make the best decisions possible when they are not with you. Its those times that they are away from you that become the hardest. Its those things that they see their friends doing or see on TV or hear on the radio that try to wedge their way in. As the parent, you have to make sure that you are ready to put your foot in the doorway when all that stuff tries to follow your kids home.
How about you? Whats your take on it?
5 hours ago