My dear # 1 got an ipod touch last year. It is super neat and has some really cool and useful functions. When we bought it she was really the only one in her social circles that had one or had one and never used it for social purposes. This is a newer thing she has discovered.
Therefore, the social aspects of this type of thing brought about discussions that my guy and I had yet to have. How do we handle this? And that? Oh and that? And privacy. Do we invade her privacy or do allow her uncontrolled access to something so open socially? Well I may have no fans on this, but it is our belief that at 10 she needs very little privacy in the aspect of this device. When she is older we can re-evaluate. But for now she operates knowing that we can and do have access whenever we want or need too.
We left it at that with her and it worked for awhile. Then something strange happened this weekend in her mood. She was acting goofy and off. It centered around her IPOD. So naturally I was curious and asked. She gets defensive and tells me, “I don’t understand.” I push further and get no where. I ask to see her ipod. I didn’t like what I saw.
It wasn’t anything inappropriate. It was just not right in my opinion. It was messages to and from friends with phones and boys. Not that those things are wrong or even that strange for a girl her age, the problem was more centered around how it was being used. Maybe I am the old lady at the party that doesn’t get it. But the excess of messages that said absolutely nothing. I didn’t get it. It also seemed to be used as a mechanism to keep tabs on people. I didn’t like that. Oh and add in there that she thought it was smart to check into her “places” on facebook. Don’t see the danger in a 10 year old girl telling the whole world where she is at in any given moment and adding in the friends that are with her? I do. Clearly, I am not teaching her to maneuver the social media I so fully support for children. Well I did.
At Christmas time #1’s very dear best friend got an IPOD. Their communication is exactly what I believe to be appropriate for 10 year olds facetiming with their ipods. Often when they facetime and text her mom and I text each other saying, “Aren’t they cute?” “How adorable are they?” But now throw in the other communications and well my guy and I were forced to sit down re-evaluate again much sooner than expected.
So we sat her down and talked. No we were not upset at this point because really this is all uncharted territory. Therefore, perimeters have to be set. We tried to make her feel like she was helping to establish them which was met with all the teenage angst I could handle. Quickly, it turned to tears and shouts of how it wasn’t her fault they texted or called. To which I partially agreed but still we wanted her to take some responsibility for what she can and does put out there for others. We talked about expectations that all of us should have moving forward and we named this our trial period before we decide if she would be mature enough to even handle an actual phone. Leaving the option of how to proceed further upto her.
I write this not to detail the account of how my guy and I are handling the safety issues that arise from an IPOD or facebook but instead to say that my daughter was so upset at me last night that when I tucked her in, in the same manner I have since she was a baby, it was met with silence. As in, she was ignoring me. I rubbed her back and told her I loved her. Again, nothing. I felt a little stab to my heart in that moment. I said, “Are you mad?” She said, “Not really” while leaving very little room for much conversation. I said, “Well, I love you. I love you enough to expect the best out of you and to keep your safe. I am sorry if you don’t see it that way.” Again silence.
Well I am in bed right about to give into sleep and it is almost 11 and she comes in and hugs me tight and says, “I love you, Mom.” Here I was thinking she had been asleep two hours by that point but clearly it bothered her. What I believe I am seeing now is my pre-teen daughter toggle between being a “kid” and being a “teen”. I hate that life has to seem so unfair and unfamiliar at times to her. But I always hope at the end of the night she goes to bed knowing we love her and want the best for her.