A few years ago I had the great pleasure of meeting with some nice people who work for MSN. At the time they were putting together an online video show called Mom’s Homeroom. MHR is a show for parents which centers around education and other parenting issues. Because of this blog, they hired me to moderate their message board. Despite my lack of moderating experience, they gave me wonderful baptism-by-fire training, and set me free to play sandbox monitor for nearly two years. My contract ended at the end of 2010, and MSN then hired me to write as a guest blogger on the website.
Mom’s Homeroom has been completely and wonderfully revamped, so that now it’s extraordinarily easy to navigate and find video and articles on all sorts of parenting and educational topics. I’ve again been hired by Mom’s Homeroom to write blog posts on current topics from the website. And this time I get to host the posts on my own blog.
I love this new format, because I’m able to involve YOU ALL in the conversation. And best of all, because this is my blog, I’m free to abuse grammar rules, engage in excessive comma usage, and make up words at will.
The latest battle that has been waged in our Pre-Menopausal Mother vs. Hormonal Tween smackdown involves the internet.
Because this particular tween shares my gene pool, she has a penchant for pushing the boundaries. Right over the cliff. When we’ve extended certain freedoms regarding the internet, we’ve caught her going to sites other than those we’ve deemed as okay.
She didn’t realize that we have the ability to check the history. She thinks we have eyes in the back of our heads and KNOW ALL AND SEE ALL. And I’m okay with that. Therefore, we’ve been strict with her internet usage, and have to sit with her for the most part when she’s online.
She loves that.
Recently my husband set her up with an e-mail account. At first I thought he was crazy, because WHAT OTHER 12 YEAR OLD HAS E-MAIL? Quite a few, as it turns out. A couple of her close girlfriends have accounts as well as her A.H.G. pen pal who lives in another state.
At first I was reluctant to give her access to a mail account. But then I thought about the pen pals I accumulated after various moves when I was her age. Some I wrote to as long as 20 years afterwards. Which involved stationary, a pencil, and a 10 cent stamp (hello, age alert?), but still, correspondence is correspondence. And since this computer age really seems to be sticking (I gave it 2 weeks while taking Computer Science in college), I may as well keep up with the times.
I don’t see a problem with an e-mail account for her. As long as the only correspondence is to the kids that we know. Fortunately, it’s very easy to
spy follow up on what she is sending and receiving.
Trust is earned. Not expected.
Mom’s Homeroom has a terrific article on keeping kids safe while using the internet. Computer usage by kids is a given in this age of technology. And it can be a wonderful resource for education. We use our computer in our every day homeschool life for curriculum as well as research.
But, what is your opinion of Facebook for tweens and teens? From what I understand, Facebook has set a rule that you must be 14 or older. I see kids younger than 14 on Facebook all of the time.
My daughter is jockeying for her own FB page, and this is one battle that she’s not going to win for a few years, until we see a good deal more maturity. And even then, she’s going to be friending her mother. Wherein I may take to posting daily pictures of myself making the fish face while holding out the requisite 2 fingers. Parenting revenge is best served steaming hot.
What are your feelings about kids on Facebook? Harmless, or asking for trouble?
* This blog is part of an incentivized online influencer network for Mom’s Homeroom. Mom’s Homeroom is brought to you by Frosted Mini-Wheats.