Childhood friends come and go. This is a good thing, as the fickle nature of children ensures that no particular friend will hold sway over our kids for too long. At least that used to be the case.
Your child’s best friend now is a keeper. It changes and evolves but it never loses it’s ranking as BFF. Your child’s best friend has no feelings and, therefore, no empathy and no conscience.
Your child’s best friend is an electronic device, most likely an iPhone, maybe an iPad, and if you’re really slumming, an iPod Touch or a some other brand of “smart” device. You may scoff, but I’m telling you, these electronic devices are the most profound influences on our children.
The hardest part? We don’t know and can’t really control what our kids are being exposed to. Or can we?
Possession of electronics is not a right, it is a privilege.
I once approached a mom to let her know that her son had been posting nasty obscenities on Instagram. Her response? “I don’t have any idea what’s on there. He won’t let me see and he won’t give me his password.” My response to that, which in my head included “Hello, wtf???” audibly came out as “well, that’s easy, I just tell my kids either they give me their passwords or they don’t have iPhones anymore.” The mom found a quick distraction and our conversation was over.
Who is running the show here people???
The other day when I was scouring my son’s Instagram, I clicked on one of his followers. It was a girl with a username that referenced sniffing glue. She had hundreds of followers. Many of her posts reflected what seemed like depression, a penchant for “cutting” and possible suicidal tendencies.
So, she’s got hundreds of people watching her toil on Instagram. Presumably, they think it’s cool. I’ve got one pressing question; if I, and the whole world, can see this, why can’t her parents???
Leaving children unattended with their devices is tantamount to letting them hang out with kids you don’t know for hours on end. Please keep in mind too that kids can access the internet from their devices. My son told me one of his sweet little friends has a habit of going to the bathroom and watching porn on his iPhone. The mom has NO idea.
We are collectively dropping the ball here. Smart phones and other devices are incredible inventions that add to our lives (though I tend to think they may be the worst thing to happen to civilization but that’s another story) and they make corporations very wealthy. Our kids’ dependence on electronics at younger and younger ages pretty much ensures that these devices are indeed their BFFs. That’s “Best Friends Forever.” I don’t know about you, but I want to know everything I can about the greatest influence in my kids’ lives.
How about you? Will you pay more attention? Are you willing to piss your kids off by being an “overprotective meanie”? I will. I’m not vying for the position of best friend, I’m fulfilling my role as parent.