Sunday, January 08, 2012

New frontiers in parenting: Two teenagers

Maybe this place shouldn't be called Two Kid Schoolhouse anymore:  There aren't any kids here.

They're both teens now. 

Yesterday Eleanor turned 13. James is 14 1/2. 

And now that they are teens we are pushing up against some new frontiers:  iPods with wifi capability, and Facebook.

We're treading carefully but not hesitantly.    We want to be smart about technology, but not scared of it.

My first observation/question:  Why would a parent allow a kid to lie about her age to get a Facebook account?   The rules say you can join up at age 13.  So why are we seeing 12-year-olds on there?

My second observation:  Ask 5 people their views on the iPod Touch and wifi access, and you'll get 5 different opinions.  For now, we're going with an app that censors objectionable sites based on the child's age and some information I plugged in.  Know of anything better?   What works for your family?

More to come, as we navigate the teen years.


Sandy said...

We haven't had much success with filtering programs. They block news sites which is a problem for us. Mostly I try to stay connected with what they're doing online by doing it with them; reading their Twitter feeds, subscribing to their Pinterest accounts, and so on. None of us are on Facebook, which I think saves me a lot of trouble. No one has internet access in their bedrooms until they're college age. I figure that if they went away to college they'd have it without my oversight, so we could do it here, too. The younger ones use the computer that is in the main living area of the house. Most of the time they're coming to me with things they've seen or read online. I think the groundwork for that is laid long before they're old enough for iPods and Facebook. I should probably do a review of online safety, though it is met with eye rolling. Infractions of the rules, such as downloading something without my permission, leads to serious consequences. If you can't follow the family rules then you won't be on the computer at all.

A Complete Thought said...

I'd love to know the name of the app you're using for the iPod Touch. Our 14 1/2 year old received one for Christmas. We have his wifi capability completely turned off and any app purchases, etc. must come through me. They have no interest in FB as of right now so we've not had to decide that one. But all other computers with Internet access are password protected so that either myself or my husband is aware of their being online and thereby monitored.

Maria said...

Our family does much of what Sandy mentioned. Our 13 y/o also has an iTouch and it's made me really want to get an iPad for myself ;) We don't use a filtering system either. I don't allow FB until high school and my husband and I would be considered "creepers" on their FB and they know it. We've requested something be removed on 2 occasions followed up with a conversation about what/why said material was offensive.

BTW, I really enjoy my teenagers and find this time seems to seal our connection. Don't know if that makes sense but it's the best way to describe without going into a blogpost!

Marbel said...

We are using the Mobicip which we bought through iTunes. It is a very inexpensive download but (of course) there is a premium service which costs $10 a year - that includes usage reports and some other features I admit to not being fully aware of.

So far it's blocked some youtube videos (that I searched for to see if they would be blocked), which was good, but also some information on World War II, which was bad. So, we'll see.