A peek at the sun before it hides behind the rainclouds...
I read an article this morning about a man in Australia who (gasp!) posed as someone else on Facebook, and lured an 18 year old girl to her death. Apparently, the girl was an animal lover and this guy had a Facebook account with a false name and said that he worked for an animal rescue group. He convinced her to meet him at an animal reserve supposedly to interview her for a job. He then murdered her and dumped her body.
THIS is why I monitor my kid's facebook accounts.
I know I hover. I know I'm a "helicopter mom". I don't care. I randomly change their passwords, I monitor who they are "friends" with, I check to make sure there is nothing inappropriate posted on their walls.
Some of these parents with the hands off approach - really should take a look and see what their kids are posting. That's all I'm saying. They should look. Because I think they might be just a teeny tiny bit shocked. Is all I'm saying.
Another thing about kids? They're mean. And materialistic. I know - they've always been like that. But here's an example...
Clay and Paige have cell phones. I was vehemently opposed to cell phones for kids before my kids became teenagers. Then Clay started playing soccer and we never knew when he would finish...and he started going to football games. Alone. Paige started taking dance at a studio across town. We caved. We did it for US, not THEM. They are supposed to be for US to get in touch with them (and vice versa) in an emergency. They are not toys. They are not something they are entitled to. They can text their friends, but we try to limit that (because we see their social skills deteriorating).
Anyway, they do have cell phones, but they are plain old phones. Razrs, to be exact. They're fine phones. They do what they are supposed to do. But they are not fancy, "smart" phones.
The other day when Paige was at Coppelia rehearsal, she pulled her phone out to text me that she was almost done. A nasty little spoiled brat girl looked at her phone, sneered, and said, "Oh you have a Razr. That's SO old. Ha Ha." Paige ignored her, but it hurt her feelings.
When Paige told me what the little bitch girl said, I wanted to stomp back in there (in full Mama Bear mode) and drop kick her into next week. I wanted to tell her what a shallow, tacky little prima donna she is and that she should learn some manners.
But I didn't. Because the truth is that my kids need to learn to deal with stuff like this and people like this. The truth is that even if they had the newest, "smartest", most technologically advanced phone out there - in another couple of months there will be something new. It will be obsolete. I want them to understand that "things" don't bring happiness, it comes from within. I want them to know that there are people out there in the world who equate happiness with what "stuff" they have - and they will never be happy, because they will always want more, newer, brighter stuff. I also don't think that kids should get everything they want.
Tim and I are old fashioned when it comes to parenting. Clay has never been allowed to have video games. We prefer that the kids read books, or play outside. It was difficult sometimes - the other kids made fun of him because he didn't have the latest Playstation or Nintendo or whatever. But I think he kind of likes it now. It's like a badge of honor to him. We once heard another boy interrogating him as to what games he had...He asked if he had this one, or that one, and named about ten types. Clay kept answering "nope". Finally, in exasperation, the other boy said, "Well, what DO you have?" Clay answered, "I have a cast net, and I know how to use it."
We ARE old fashioned, and we have met with some criticism from others that think we should allow more "stuff". But you know what? Our kids are happy, and active, and VERY well read. They have traveled. When they watch TV they watch the History channel, or Discovery. They like learning. They are interested in current events. They spend a lot of time outdoors - waterskiing, swimming, fishing (or just lying in the hammock reading a book). They still talk to us, and want to spend time with us, and do things as a family.
I'm not saying that this is the RIGHT way to do things. It's just OUR way.