My friend and fellow SITStah on SITS.com, Becky of FranticMommy.com, sent out an interesting email yesterday concerning social media use among adolescents. My boys are still young enough that their social media use hasn’t been a large topic (still crossing my fingers that they’ll never grow up). With that said, I’ve been considering allowing our nine-year old to become a Facebook user. “What?!!!??? Are you crazy? This chic must be a certifiable nut job!” you say.
I have very good intentions and reason for considering this ‘outlandish’ move. Pickle’s best friend, we’ll call him Wylie, moved to Arizona. My initial plan was for them to use Webkinz to communicate and stay in touch. Unfortunately, for some reason we are unable to get Webkinz to work on my Mac (if anyone has any input, I’m open to trouble-shooting suggestions). Enter Facebook. It seems that on the Arizona side of things, Facebook has become essential for staying in touch with friends and family back home. I think it’s been a very good experience for them.
When Becky told me about her research, I took notice. She found that about 75% of kids in the 12-17 years of age group already have a Social Media profile, and most of that 75% already has an iPhone too. The request for a phone is something we’ve dealt with for a while. I acknowledge that there are pros to having a phone however, at this time the cons out weigh those pros. The addition of a phone increases the chance for cyberbullying. Becky noted that chances are that those with Social Media profiles may have already experienced some sort of cyberbullying. Similar to ‘realitybullying’, only one 1 in 10 kids will tell their parents they are being harassed. I can only imagine the overflow of bullying from the internet to school.
Fortunately, from her research she learned about a great site with a fancy-smancy offer to boot. The site is www.socialscanner.com and is a web-based monitoring tool that helps you as a parent see what, who, and where your kids have been on-line, and who they are engaging with. And there’s a FREE 60 day trial being offered right now. Sweet, huh? Becky did say that she signed up and it was very quick and very efficient. I haven’t had a chance but do plan on doing so.