Category Archives: Kids

Social networking and our kids… Continued

After my initial post, I spent some time looking at apps and blogs that are out there sucking our kids in. I was immediately overwhelmed with information.

What is it that is SO appealing to kids, and why is there a need, not want, but NEED for the attention they get through these social mediums?

After going through this, and ultimately seeking the advice of a medical professional (I’ll get to that later), I discovered that some of the appeal to these sites and apps are that there’s an open ear to vent to. Someone they find who is “going through the same” issues. They can express how they are feeling and in a sense, have a friend who understands and is there for them. While that idea is fine and great for most cases, how are our kids suppose to know that who they are talking to is REALLY who they say they are, and not some adult preying on kids, and using their insecurities to lure them in? Our kids shouldn’t have to worry about that stuff, but the world we live in demands a lack of trust in who we talk to, even in those we know at times.

So, in an effort to compromise, I allowed facebook only. I removed all other apps and blocked the ability to web search any or download new apps without permission. This has helped quite a bit.
I also downloaded an app called Friendly. It allows me to be logged on to her facebook directly, so all private messages I see. There use to be one called Buddy, and it allowed access to different social networks, but it doesn’t seem to be around anymore.

So there’s my update about how I’ve handled our social networking issues. I hope it’s helped someone.

Social Media Apps to watch out for (under Constant construction)

As promised, I’ve been reading up on social media apps that are opening up the doors for kids to meet with potential preditors.  I do understand that if we limit our kids from the social content, we can protect them.  I also understand that where there’s a will, there’s a way.  We all can sit here and say, “not my kid, I keep control over their access to the internet”, but do you really? Do you see what they are doing at their friend’s houses?  How about at school?  If they have smartphones, did you know that the parental settings DON’T prevent ALL of the apps from being blocked?  Did you also know that some apps that appear to be completely harmless, and non-social media, are actually hubs for social media?

So you can make decisions to permanently prevent your kids from getting into any of these sites/apps, that I think is in many ways impossible to completely prevent, or you can find ways to educate yourself AND your children of the dangers behind these medias.

To list all of these apps is virtually impossible.  There are just too many to be able to list, considering that there is a new one everyday. I’m going to list the ones that I’ve been made aware of, from personal research, experience, or from my daughter and her friends usage.  I will add the descriptions, and websites if i can, as I can. I will, at the very least, include the names of the apps I discover.  As new ones appear that I see, I will add them.  Please feel free to comment with any that you know of.  

I know that this list provides a list that kids can use to find these, but if they were already looking, they will find it, with or without this list.  I’m not the only one out there writing about this, so I refuse to feel bad about providing the list.  

 

There’s the obvious, but what I’m starting to see the lesser of the evils:

Facebook and Twitter

Kids seem to be less interested in these two.  They’re old and parents can see what they’re up to, for the most part.  

Snapchat-  This app confuses me in so many ways.  Kids think that these 10 second blurbs of pics are forever erased from the internet once they’ve been seen by their friends. I understand the draw to it, but also find its existence to be a minor irritation.  We can’t go out anywhere without the kids wanting to check in their location with a snap chat to their friends.  This means, we go to eat, so shopping, get coffee, see a movie….it ALL seems to require the world to know what we are doing. I’d probably understand this more if I was either 13, or in the need for constant approval of  my every doings. The pictures range in appropriateness, and kids think that there is no long term consequence to the pictures that they post. I’ve seen some pretty explicit pictures that these kids think no one can see.  Then there’s the option to screen shot the picture, making it anyone’s game as to who gets to see it.

Ask.fm-  This app, and website, seems innocent enough.  Its a portal for kids ages 13 and up to feel free to as any question anonymously that they don’t feel confident or comfortable asking in other circumstances.  This is also a site that allows kids to share their other media names and connect elsewhere if they choose.  The site has an entire FAQ section for parents, to reassure us that it is a safe environment for kids to feel safe to ask questions without their identity being compromised.  What it neglects to state, is that the kids can share their identity or other forms of contact if they chose to.  What the site also says is that the parents don’t have the right to the kids profile unless the log in information is known.  They also do NOT have the right to request that the site admins remove the child’s profile, since they want the child to feel it is a safe place.  Apparently the kid’s have more rights here than the parents.  NOT my favorite thing to learn considering most kids, if not all, are social idiots.  We all are….at least until we are over 25. Even then its questionable.  Kids are NOT equipped with the ability to decide what’s safe or appropriate.  That’s why we are the parents and are ultimately responsible for them.          Here’s the link to their site’s FAQ~ http://ask.fm/about/safety/faq

Tango-  Here is another app, that is similar to skype, but it also helps you connect with friends and new people.  This is not really something that I’d want my kid on.  It freely allows her to meet people who have no business being in her world if they are not friends from school.  The basis of it seems good, but the idea that my child can text, talk and video chat with anyone out there that I don’t know scares me. It allows kids to have a whole phone/video/text access without the parent’s knowledge. There is no way to see the history, such as the bills, to see who they are communicating with.                                            Link to their site:  http://www.tango.me/features

Hangouts- This is an instant messaging and video chat platform deceloped by google. This can allow kids to have chats under their parents radar as well.  It can use the google plus, google talk, which generates a google number for the user to use, so having a phone isn’t entirely necessary.  They can use this with an ipod or ipad device and wifi.

Textme!- 

Selfie360- 

The Game by Hot or Not- 

Nifti-

Instagram-

I am Awesome-

Livejournal-

Talkatone-

Bambuser-

Bobba Bar-

Bump-

Dailyplaces-

Echofon for Twitter-

eBuddy Messenger-

Fittness+-

Heywire-

Kik-

Line-

MyLife-

Nifti-

Redrover-

Vine-

Finding new friends-

Whisper-

Yo.-

WhatsApp-

Wanelo-

Ooovoo-

Tumblr-

Yik Yak-

Pheed- 

Skype-

YouTube-

Facetime-

Google+-

 

References (If not posted with content)-

http://www.babble.com/mom/a-parents-guide-to-social-media-what-are-tweens-and-teens-using-right-now/

Social networking and our kids

I, like many parents, want my children to have the things they want. I don’t want them to feel like they can’t have nice things. An iPhone was one thing that my daughter wanted to have. I understood this. The games are fun and a lot of her friends have one.

I know that there are parents who are appalled at the fact that I gave my daughter a smartphone. I’ve heard both sides and agree with both. I work full time, and so does my husband. I need her to have a phone so that I know when she gets home from school, or so she can call me if needed when she isn’t home. She’s never given me any reason to think there was something I needed to be concerned about with her having one. She’s always been my level headed kid and never gave me reason to rethink that.

Until…….

About a year ago her attitude started to change.

I’m willing to overlook the weird clothes she wants to wear. I went through those phases too. Where I can’t look away, is her relentless need to talk to new people through these social networking apps. They’re popping up like wildfire. I block one, a new one appears. I don’t understand why the extreme need that these kids have. Don’t they know they’re only making it easier for predictors to find them? It’s like giving a free candy store to a predictor. The numbers of kids joining these networks and downloading these apps is growing at an alarming rate.

I’ve decided to take away the smart phone, and limit access to the internet. I’m sure that where there’s a will, there’s a way, but it won’t be by my hand. I hope that my “cutting the cord” from her access will somehow reduce the risk she is putting herself in.

I am compiling a list of the social apps that are being used, and please share any that you know of. Awareness is our only defense for our children.

No matter how honest we believe they are, or how good of kids they are, they place themselves at risk by joining these apps. Most don’t even realize it’s a risk and innocently believe they are talking to another kid their age, and they very well could be, but I’m not taking that risk anymore. For all anyone knows, they’re talking to some 40 year old guy who’s trolling for trusting kids.

My advise, no matter how good your kid is, DON’T assume they aren’t the type to look through these apps. Don’t assume that your parental blocks are keeping them out. New apps have different settings, some bypass that age restriction or present themselves as something else, but are actually portals for the social networking features.

AND…. For every app you discover and restrict or delete, 3 more pop up.

Update: 8/20

I’ve been searching through the social apps that have been flagged as possibly dangerous for our kids due to the easy access that is provided, for free.

I plan on posting what I find when I get to my computer. It will be easier to list them all that way.

I encourage you to share what you’ve experienced or apps you know.

Working Mom vs Stay at Home Mom

I find this subject to be a bit taboo. There’s two different types of moms here, and they rarely ever mix. Even in social situations, the two types rarely mesh. This is something I’ve struggled with understanding. I’m not here to say they one works harder than the other. I often at times feel like I’ve got 2 full time jobs having both to do. SAHM’s work pretty hard. Their day starts and ends all about the kids. For me, work is a break from that, and I appreciate my kids more from it.

On one side, you have the mother who struggles with going to work and having to leave her babies in the hands of another person to keep them safe. Some are lucky enough to have family, so the worried feeling you get is more about feeling guilty you’re not there for their every moment.

Often, there’s a bit of jealousy of what the other has. One gets to spend time with their kids and not have to miss out on their activities, while the other gets to get out there and away from the kids enough to not feel smothered, or that their only conversations were in 3 year old talk.

For me, I prefer the working mom role. I’ve done both. I was a stay at home for almost 3 years with my oldest, and for the first year and a half of my youngest’s life. I didn’t dislike being home with them, but I was always the type who had 2 jobs and went to school. As much as I love my children, I find that I love then even more if I get to be away from them.

Now my biggest confusion about the two is, why don’t they mingle? When I was home with my daughter, I had friends who were home with their kids too. We got together and our kids played, it was fun. Same for when I was home with my son. I had friends were were SAHM’s, but as soon as I went back to work, that romance ended and I was not a part of that “click” anymore. I’ve ask them what changed, and none really had an answer. Some were too busy, others just had their mom groups. Still, why can’t the two mingle? I’ve talked with other friends who work and were SAHM’s, and they experienced the same thing, so I know there has got to be some sort of connection. Maybe one day I’ll figure it out.

Have you experienced this?

Fighting siblings

I will be the first to declare that I am furthest from being a perfect parent. I have 3 kids who I like to describe as very set strong in their ways.
My oldest daughter (13) is the quiet one, my middle girl (6) is the drama queen bee and then there’s my boy (3), well he’s ALL boy.
It’s a daily struggle getting the two younger ones to not scream and fight. It’s a daily occurrence, and some days I contemplate on wether or not it’s allowed to drop them off at the fires station for rehoming. Of course I’d never actually do it, but it’s when the days ends with those thoughts, I begin to wonder why I don’t drink by choice.
I’ve read blog after blog about how to settle the fighting or how to positively discipline my children. They’d make sense if my kids were the type who fit their molds of the “perfect Christian family”. I will be the first to admit, I become very religious when I decide God needs to step in and save my sanity. Otherwise, I’m far from that role.
For us, I find it most effective to let them settle the score themselves. Tattling is not an option, because I’ve declared my lack of interest in their problems. Maybe it’s poor parenting, and throwing in the towel is not the best route to go, but it works better than beating them senselessly or trying to have positive small talk to encourage good behavior. I’d LOVE to meet a 3 year old that truly works on.

What works for you?