Is your teen on Snapchat? Are you on Snapchat to keep up with your kids? (That is what happened to us.) We proclaimed last year that this newest, super hip social media app was off limits for our son, until *we* were more ready. There are…
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post by AT&T but all words and opinions are mine.Our son Dex is about to turn 13, so we continue to slowly expand his freedoms on the phone. In the beginning, we had really strict policies about who he could text, but as he goes through middle school - he is gaining more casual friends that he wants to - and should be able to - communicate with on the regular. But how do we allow him more wiggle room while still being protective? AT&T introduced me to their Smart Limits service and app... it's been the perfect compromise for us.
Before that, how about a refresher on tech tips for families?
Do your kids play Minecraft? Of course they do. Every kid on the planet does, right? As a parent, I am super impressed with the game because of the creativity, resourcefulness and collaboration it inspires. Not to say I actually understand how it all works - but my 12 year old son Dex sure does. It's pretty much what he did all summer, y'all. And the Minecraft got even more organized when Super League Gaming came to Denver and held an event in our local movie theater. We got a taste of what the actual League is like (Fall registration open NOW for cities all over) when a bunch of kids and their parents set up on laptops and played various challenges against each other on the biggest gaming screen you have ever seen (yes, in the actual movie theater). Dex's best game was 4th place, but he was more stoked to meet and interview the event's special guest Parker, aka You Tube star ParkerGames.
[caption id="attachment_9440" align="alignright" width="160"] This post is part of a sponsored series from Domain.ME[/caption] This blog is a decade old. Seeing as my son is almost 13, he is has grown up online - at least in these archives. It has been an interesting learning experience for him, and us, as he's grown. I used his real name when I started because many other mom bloggers were making up cutesy names and I figured "Greeble" was goofy enough. That came back to bite us when his friends first learned how to Google each other and started reading stories about his diaper rash. Super quickly many posts got moved to "private" to protect his privacy. It even changed the whole tenor of the site: as he has grown up, there are less stories about him here because the stories are not mine to tell. I have always been a bit of a stickler for following the COPPA age 13 standard for social networks. I recognize that every family finds their own way, but in addition to being a rule follower - having a public blog has taught me things about dealing with the online world. As Dex approaches this milestone, we have been prepping him, taking things slowly and learning about the every evolving landscape together.
I was chatting with a friend recently about our teen years and the stories were the same. While I never had outright bullying, there was a lot of ugly teasing and mean girls. I grew up in an area and a time where everyone was supposed to be exactly the same. My friend talked about how, when he turned 14, all of his friends pretended that they didn't know him. These kids who used to walk down the street to pick him up on the way to school all of a sudden, they would just yell rude comments and keep on going. One of my worst memories from high school was when two best friends just didn't pick me up one night, and then pretended they never even knew me after that. Like we had not been friends for the past however many years. Like I hadn't slept over umpteen times. Like, what the hell just happened? So, yeah, as Dex entered middle school - that time when friends traditionally get judgey - I have been a little, let's say... twitchy. I try not to impose my past experiences too much, because not only is Dex an old soul - he is most definitely his own person. He has generally not really cared what anyone thought and has gone his own way. Part of it, I know, is all that diversity we fight for - one benefit seems to be (thus far) kids like to be different. Less pressure to wear exactly the same clothes and do exactly the same things. I am pretty sure we all owe Glee a huge debt of gratitude.
As Dex grows up, it feels like every day we find a new way to communicate with each other. If you have kids, you will remember those early days when every time you turned around there was another milestone. That is why many of us started blogs, to capture all of that. Entering teenhood is another renaissance - but the milestones are so subtle, you have to squint to see them. Dex has a big project that is due this week, something that could frankly change everything in our lives. He has been a bit lackadaisical about it and we've been teetering on that parental edge where you don't know when to push, when to cajole, or when to let them do what they do - pass or fail. It's a big project. I keep reminding myself he is only 12. The pressure these kids have in middle school is astronomical. But if he wants this, he has to get it done.