I am a mom to four girls, three of which are still teens.
The internet is how everything is done these days. There is no more writing notes to teachers, or using encyclopedias for research. If you want something done, you jump on your laptop and make it happen.
Not so many years ago when the internet first started growing I was one of those moms who didn't see the need for access to the internet. My girls would ask to open a Myspace account and then Facebook and I would say "No, you don't need it. " I just wanted to protect them from so much negative which is what I perceived them all to be.
Well, guess what ? You can't protect them from it. If you don't embrace it and allow it at home they will find it and have access to it somewhere else and you for sure have no control.
I have always been the house where the kids came hang out at. A lot of my girl's friends call me mom as well. It has been my way of keeping up with my girls .Having them hang out in my house means I get to know who all the “hot” guys are, who is doing what with whom and all the gossip you can possibly imagine. I have learned a lot I must say.
And so I learned quickly that if I didn't let my girls have access to the internet that it would become a secret instead. I am a very open mom. They can ask me anything and I will answer. Even the embarrassing things, and if I do not know the answer I will find out. I prefer they blush when I tell them than to be curious and find the answer another way. I don't want secrets with my girls. I want to communicate. We may not always agree and the teen years are definitely tough but I am determined to give them my all. And that had to include the internet.
So began my journey on the internet with them. My first daughter opened up a face book account and began connecting with all of her friends. I opened an account so that I could be connected to her. Now I am connected to them all on Facebook. Honestly, it has since opened up a whole new world for us all.
I began to meet people from all over and I wanted to teach my girls responsibility on the internet. I wanted them to have the resources they need for school work and projects but the internet is so much more than that. As we all say it is about "Social Media" and social media is about being social after all. I let my girls watch me interact with others, see my chats and know that you can connect with people and have relationships that are healthy. As teens and young girls, I didn’t just want them connecting with the guys, flirting or being in the middle of drama with a bunch of girls. I want them to know and see the value behind the internet.
I am now running my business online and I get my girls active in what I do. I let them see what I post. I let them help me on my Pinterest, Tumbler, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I let them pick things. We laugh at corny pictures and believe it or not they also pick things that are inspiring and say "Hey mom, I found this for you." I let them have input and I do the same for them . Their friends are also among some of my friends. Another "Mom" way of keeping close yet letting go.
I do pop onto their walls, keep check, post to them, make comments and if I find something I don't like I can ask them to remove it and we can discuss why. They all have different platforms now just as I do and we are all connected. My things are open to them and I like it that way. They actually add me and tell me right away. They have allowed me to read things and see things that they probably would not have had I not opened that door. I want to be the example for them to do right by the technology we have. Being social doesn't mean it has to be all gossip and flirting. Being social means caring about others. Listening to what they have to say, having compassion and learning that you are not alone in life. You share a world with many, and you can learn from each other.
My girls and I have our ups and downs. Being a teen is not easy and being a mom to all teens is a roller coaster. You never know what you’re in for. You just wake up each day, believing for the best and staying as close to them as you possibly can.
Social media and your teens can coexist in a healthy way. If you work together with them, you won't regret the decision to open that door.