Social Question

astrojams1's avatar

PARENTS: how would you categorize your child's online social life?

Asked by astrojams1 (149points) October 8th, 2009

in particular, to parents of middle and high school students:

how often does your child use facebook, myspace, etc?
how does your child use these networks? gossip? homework?
what restrictions do you place on your child’s internet usage?
when you were your child’s age, how did your social life differ?
have any advice for parents with teenage children?

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16 Answers

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Nil so far. Hopefully I can keep it that way as long as possible.

dpworkin's avatar

I would categorize my children’s social life as being none of my business, wherever they choose to pursue it. I don’t ask and I don’t snoop.

Perhaps for that reason I know a great deal about nearly everything they do; they love to tell me stuff.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@pdworkin I think what your children do is every bit of your business. I understand what you’re saying but I wouldn’t bet that your kids tell you everything to save my life.

dpworkin's avatar

Oh, I’m sure they have plenty of secrets. I know I did. Why would I make such an assault on their autonomy so as to discover things they don’t want me to know?

And what I said was none of my business is their social life. Their school life and their home life are entirely my business.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@pdworkin Well I wish you the best of luck with that. Personally, I’m more than happy to be the dad on the porch with the shotgun warding off terrible would-be boyfriends of my daughter.

dpworkin's avatar

Why was she raised to make bad choices? My daughter has no interest in having a terrible boyfriend.

Facade's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater You might want to adopt some of @pdworkin ‘s ways of parenting or your relationship with your daughter will suffer. Being overbearing is definitely not the way to go.

DarkScribe's avatar

My children are all between twenty and thirty so they are beyond parental control, but I use Facebook and Twitter to keep track of them, they do the same with my wife and me. When my younger daughters were still in their early to mid teens they had to use the computer in the family area, never in their bedroom. No one peered over their shoulder at what they were doing, but it kept things sensible.

MagsRags's avatar

My daughter graduated from high school in June. She has been online since about 3d grade. Initially, we used the age appropriate isp screening options as a safety net, after a couple years, I lifted those because they were restricting some good reference sites she needed for homework.

We had intermittent conversations about staying safe, which turned out to be pretty easy, because she was never particularly interested in anonymous chat rooms. Up until last fall, she used our desktop computer which meant that her father and I might be walking through the room on a random basis. She joined myspace with my permission about 3 years ago, and never hesitated when I “friended” her there. Her father, not so much after he passed on family gossip that he obtained by looking over her shoulder.

For the last year or so, myspace is less popular and now it’s facebook. She has a laptop now and is in her room a lot chatting with her friends. I joined facebook a couple months ago, and we’re friends there too. It seems most of her facebook friends are local, she’s also friends with farflung cousins and a few family friends who are my age. She and her friends do a bit of live chat, although I would say they do even more texting. I appreciate the mutual trust.

MissAusten's avatar

My daughter started middle school this year, which is fifth grade here. She loves to be on the computer, but she plays games designed for kids on websites where the “chat” is limited to a set of phrases the kids can choose. They have to pick from those phrases, no typing. We also have our computer set up so that only “safe” websites can be accessed.

She’s never asked about myspace or facebook, and I’m not sure she knows what they are at this point. I’d have to say no, because there are many things on both sites that are inappropriate for ten year olds.

Lately she’s started asking for her own email address, which I am not really opposed to. For the next three years or so, I’d like to have her email come and go from our inbox. When she’s a bit older, she can make it totally private. Maybe that’s paranoia, because I’ve seen how she responds to things online when we aren’t at home. For example, we had dinner at my in-laws tonight and my daughter was using their computer. She found a game site my mother-in-law uses, and came across the shocking word “asshole.” She was so irritated and indignant that someone would use that word in a game that she immediately switched to a site she’s more familiar with. Oh please please please don’t let her ever change! haha!

As for time on the computer, it’s not much at all during the week. She has to be on the bus at 7:30. After school she does her homework and chores, and then is free to use the computer. About 45 minutes is as long as I’ll let her sit there. What cracks me up is she’ll call her best friend so they can be online at the same time, playing the same game, and give each other tips. On the weekends or during the summer, she spends maybe twice as much time on the computer, a bit in the morning and a bit in the evening.

Her social life isn’t that different from mine as a kid, except that we don’t have neighbors with kids her age. I used to play outside with neighbors, and she can’t because there just aren’t any kids nearby. However, she does more at school than I did. She’s a Girl Scout, plays field hockey, and is on an Odyssey of the Mind team. She has friends over, or goes to a friend’s house regularly. With two little brothers, she needs time to escape!

I firmly believe our kids shouldn’t have television or computers in their bedrooms until they are out of high school. We may get a second computer as the kids get older (there are three of them) and need them for school work. If that’s the case, we’ll park the other computer right here in the office with this one. The office is just off the kitchen and very easy to supervise. Especially because I have to check Fluther periodically throughout the day.

Fernspider's avatar

@pdworkin – your method of parenting sounds similar some of my mother’s views on parenting. Personally, I think it was fantastic and I grew up to me more sensible earlier than the majority of my peers.

At almost 26, I have a close, open and honest relationship with my parents.

I often told my mother more than most because I felt safe and secure and trusting of her. She would give me her honest opinions about how she felt but she always reinforced that I should never be afraid to reach out and ask if I ever needed her.

I firmly recall being about 17 and being invited to a party with two of my school friends. My mum said I could go (we had a strong trusting relationship) but to let her know where I would be, to let her drop me off and pick me up and to be out no later than 10:30 pm.

I arrived at the party and found it to be full of childish try-hards who had snuck in booze and were getting drunk. I decided the party felt unsafe and was filled with guilt that if I remained at the party I would be letting my mother down. I called her and told her that everyone was drinking and could she pick me up. She did and we enjoyed a nice evening of ice-creams and movies.

I specifically remember a friend of mine who had snuck out to go to the party as her mother wouldn’t let her do anything and she was all for getting drunk and “showing her mother she knew best”. She called me in tears after midnight begging me to pick her up because she was too scared to go home. I can only imagine what could have happened to her if she had had no one else to call.

My mum would always say that when she was a teenager, she would sneak out and get up to all sorts of trouble because she felt that her parents “didn’t understand her”. My mum says that often, kids are gonna do what their gonna do and she was more comfortable with knowing where I was then banning everything and running the risk of me doing it anyway and her having no idea where I was.

I know of other friends who had very strict parents and the minute they were old enough to make adult decisions, they made naive, sheltered youthful ones due to a lack of guided experience.

I’m not saying my mother’s parental approach is better than anyone else’s or more correct, I am merely stating my circumstances and how it worked out in my family. I concede to the fact that every circumstance and family situation is different. What works for one family may not for another, I just immensely appreciated the building of trust and honestly in our relationship.

valdasta's avatar

I have two in Jr. High. I have not allowed them to have access to socialize on the web yet.

Danger: Hanging out on the web is different than when I was growing up. Here is the difference. When I was hanging out with my social group, we were going beyond the boundaries of what our parents would approve of. But the web takes the “hang out” and peer pressure to a whole new level. There is NO RESTRAINT to their actions on the internet. They can pretend to be whoever they want to be and go as far as they want to go.
The outside influence is not only the kids at school or next door, but all over the world from kids to adults.

Note: Some parents believe that they are monitoring their children’s activity on the pc, but most kids know more about the technology than their parents. I know and have heard teens mention their dad trying to keep an eye on them; they just laugh and say, “they have no idea”.

DominicX's avatar

Thank God this social networking stuff only started in the middle of my being a kid before my parents had the chance to be all “monitory”. I’ve had a computer in my room since I was 11, been going on the internet regularly since I was 14, been using Facebook since I was 16, and yeah, I’ve told my parents what I do and showed them about it, but mostly, they didn’t care what I did as long as I did my homework and wasn’t arranging to meet strange people, which I never did. My mom just created her own Facebook profile a couple months ago and befriended me. No problem.

dpworkin's avatar

Thanks, @Rachienz , that’s certainly been the hope. It worked out well with my grown children who are now 28 and 26, and are both very accomplished people. It seems to be working out well with my 12-year-old twins.

ShanEnri's avatar

My daughter is a senior in high school. She uses facebook and myspace to stay in touch with friends that have already graduated and friends that have moved, as well as her friends in school with her now. I keep an eye on who she talks to and she lets me know if any ‘hinky’ people try to get in touch with her. My son is in 9th grade and he doesn’t have too much of an interest in myspace and facebook. He does use myspace to talk to friends and such, but mostly his internet time is spent watching videos of planes and ships. And looking for military related stories and pics. He doesn’t talk to anyone he doesn’t already know, but I do watch him and he lets me know too if there is anyone ‘hinky’ trying to contact him.

wundayatta's avatar

My daughter, age 13, has sworn off Facebook for a week. She said there was “too much drama!” I couldn’t be more proud!

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