So the tween and I have had a chat.
It’s come to that point where my social media and the blog, have met her world.
She has friends who have social media. One or two of their parents know I blog.
One of her friends, somehow, came across one of my instagram photos, and realised who I was. We won’t go into how I feel about a child under the allowed age limit for social media, having access to it, that’s a blog post for another day. However, she showed my tween. There was no malice or harm intended. They had a good laugh looking at my random photos of food, my pride in my kids, and the photos of the cats. The friend has realised that I blog, which means the tween is privileged enough to receive things like toys and clothes and days out etc, that we review and share about. She thought it was “a bit cool”. The tween seemed to be amused by all this. She is very aware of what I do, she even Googled me last week, to show her friends something about us. She knows I share on social media.
To be clear. I ask my children before I share photos. If we are working on a blog project where I want them to be part of the post, I ask them and they usually are happy to be part of that. If we are ever paid money for the children to review or work with a brand, that money goes into their bank accounts, not mine. If the children ever decide they don’t like a photo, I won’t share it. They quite like editing photos and taking silly selfies to share with Snapchat filters.
But, it hit me rather hard, realising that what I do, and what I share here, and on my social media, is out there, for anyone to find.
I have always been worried about my kids being on their own social media, and being bullied or exposed to things we don’t want them to be. The recent tragic case of Molly Russell, struck close to home for me, as a parent of a child who will at some point want to be on social media, and could find and see things, or be in contact with people who won’t have her best interests at heart.
Our children currently don’t have social media, and will not for a long time, and when they do, we will not be naive like some parents who do not monitor their children’s social media use, and don’t know what their children are watching, or who they are talking to. Sorry, that sounds harsh, but the reality is I have spoken to many parents who don’t really pay attention to what is going on on their kids social media and phones, have no idea what apps they are using, or what they actually can do with their phones. If grown adults are vulnerable and struggle with anxiety or be harassed or abused on social media, then what does that do to our kids? So when our kids do have social media, we will be the uncool parents who are on top of their use, exposure and who they are sharing with.
In the meantime, I now face the reality that my social media could or could not be a problem for my kids. I don’t share naked photos, or bad photos, or anything that I wouldn’t say to my children to their face. I don’t talk about their bodies, or the rough or intensely private bits of parenting (you will never find a photo of my kid on the potty, or any photos of my kids when they have been in in hospital) and when I do share about my kids I either try to be honest in a way that I think they can look back on and see why we are who we are, or moments of pride and love, or just fun stuff.
But, if at any point my kids photos online, and our story, causes a problem for them with their peers. I will stop. Without hesitation. If they ask me, I will stop. I won’t flinch. I will make it private. I will delete and remove. I will and am slowly finding other things to share about, as our parenting journey changes, and I will not allow my pride in my social media and what I have made it be a problem at my children’s expense. I hadn’t thought about the fact that my daughter was of an age where her peers would be on social media. I now know it’s not just her use of social media that I need to watch out for.
For now, my tween is happy for me to keep sharing, as long as she ok’s what I share. Once a week she has “supervised” access to my social media where she posts and shares, to give her a taste of what it’s like, but with me always there to make sure she’s ok. She wants to write on the blog, and she thinks Twitter and Instagram are hilarious. Facebook is apparently for old people however.
She says she is fine, she knows it’s something I do, but I looked her in the eye and said “if you tell me to stop, I will and every single image I have shared of you is yours, and if one day you want them all removed, that is what I will do”.
“Ok mum” she said, “now let’s work out how we can get you to take a better selfie, that last one was really awful, look here’s one I did yesterday, let’s use a filter and see if that works”.
*My tween and I had a very frank talk about social media, she is very aware that I will stop without blinking if she asks me to, and if it causes her any issues, I will call a halt. The boy knows the same. My kids are my blog, the blog is part my kids, but their wishes are more important. That’s the only way it will be….*