Helping My 13-Year-Old Get Ready for Social Media

25 days ago

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have an almost 13-year-old that is bringing the whole social media thing and her use of it to my forefront. I have several ideas running through my head on how to approach this, but I still have time. I don’t think I am in denial, I just like to procrastinate. Ask Hubby if you don’t believe me.

Meg (said almost 13-year-old) has a blog. She started it not quite a year ago and reviews books, movies and has a few other random posts. She is an obsessive reader, likes to write and is currently writing her first novel, which I find amazing. I know I am a her mom, but it is amazing. From time to time though she gets writers block and for some reason thinks it is my responsibility to help her through it. This conversation just happened this morning:

Meg: Mom, I don’t know what to write for my next blog. Tell me what to write. (Read in a whiny voice).

Mom: Write about Earth Day, write about your Silver Award project.

Meg: I’ve tried and I cannot. I’ve tried and tried.

Mom: Just start writing and throw out your first paragraph, a lot of writers do that.

Meg: I can’t, tell me what to write! (Whiny voice is louder and more annoying.)

Mom: (Watching a TV commercial about cars) Write about how you feel when you start daddy’s car in the morning. It could be a good father’s day gift for him.

Meg: (Silence)

Mom: (….ah silence)

This is what she came up with: When I Start The Car. I think she did a great job sharing her emotions and I am very happy that I was able to help her out for once. Maybe now she’ll listen to me sooner, but I doubt it.

It is times like these that make me think she may be ready to dip her toe in the tumultuous ocean of social media. Not because writing a good blog makes you savvy to the ways of Facebook, but because she has demonstrated that she can share her feelings effectively to the world (or me). She writes, she proofreads, she edits.

Even Flow

She recently sent a text message that hurt her friend’s feelings. We were able to talk about how texting and emails don’t show the emotions that your voice does. You cannot say some things with a text. It’s just not done. A painful lesson, but on a smaller scale thankfully. I cannot help but mourn for the girls who have texted much worse to people, like inappropriate pictures. Our children have the whole world in their hands, literally. The power they have is daunting, yet we seem to let them treat it way too lightly.

To many, I may be over-thinking the social media thing. I may seem obsessive or over-protective with my kids. I cannot help but be careful with my girls though. Social media is the way of the world. Bosses are checking your Facebook page. Colleges are tracking your movements. Your social media footprint follows you much like your credit score, and you have to protect it. On top of that, you have crazy people trying to meet with your children in hotel rooms. (We have one of those down the street.)

I hope when Meg clicks post on Facebook, she looks at her post not as a brief update on what she is doing after school, but as a little piece of her that she is sharing with the world. I hope she can look at it objectively and think “Does the world need to know this about me?” “Is this a safe thing to share?” “Would I share this with a stadium full of people?” “Is this fair to other people?” “Will it hurt someone’s feelings?” Those are a lot of questions to go through someone’s mind, but with time and practice I think we can learn to take a double-look at our contributions to the world. Even if they are only 140 characters or a pin.


Mandy W.

Photo Credit: vchili.

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