Head-in-the-sand alert…. lest we be caught off-guard.

Here’s what’s going on 100 times a day: Kids, erroneously think they’re in some safe, parent-free zone at liberty to comment and post on Facebook, email, text,…. Ahhh… Facebook. Such a great and fun forum… but also a bit of a slippery slope.

Of course, kids want no boundaries, especially a parent with granted access to their page. When given the news that in order to have a page, the password much be shared, they inevitably throw out the teen standard – “Why?! Don’t you trust me??!! No one else has to friend their parents… or share a password!” … Whatever.

Step one: Get the password.
Step two: Use it.

A couple nights ago, MOAT Mom “A” clicked on to her daughter’s Facebook page. I so admire this family who really tries to be all over their kids. They have checks and balances on all electronic communication coming through their home. Of course, they can’t have their hands in everything because we all know that these kids can access pretty much whatever they want on a friend’s phone, iPad or computer… But you do what you can do.

When she logged on to her daughter’s Facebook page, she saw a cute photo of the girl and one of the boys in her very nice group of friends. Nothing alarming about the photo of the smiling faces leaning together to pose for a party pic. Until she saw the boy’s comment under the photo. It simply read, “Get Some.”

MOAT Mom’s blood started to simmer. Then heated to a boil as she contemplated those two words attributed to her daughter. The gall of that kid. That really nice kid with wonderful parents.

Later that night she logged on again … because that’s what we moms do. This time the kid had written the words again, but added their last name. That was enough to call in MOAT Dad who preceded to send the kid a message from their own Facebook page, encouraging him to use respectful words and to consider the fact that the girl’s parents were watching.

The next morning, MOAT Mom tried to check her daughter’s page again only to discover the password had been changed.

She finds her daughter. “Ummm – I tried get on you Facebook page and the password has changed. I need your new password.”
“Oh… yeah, I change it.”
“Well – What is it?”
“I forgot.”
“Give me a break… how could you have forgotten.”
“I just don’t remember….”
“Okay… Do you think I’m dumb?! Give me the password”
“I can’t remember.”
“Then hand me your phone. … NOW.”
“By the way I just want you to know that your father and I sent your friend a message last night to inform him of our disappointment in his comment.”
The volcano began to explode as those words sunk in. Their two other children wide-eyed staring, watched as they tried to finish their breakfast.”
“Oh … We did.”

She dramatically ran upstairs, crying … lamenting that her life was over.  Later, when she joined life again, they told her exactly what they wrote. It wasn’t as bad as she imagined… but still colossally “embarrassing!” I personally hope that she realizes her parents love her enough to get on some knucklehead boy and let him know that their daughter is a precious, well-guarded commodity. I hope the boy realizes there are people, real people, on the other side of “cool” comments. I hope we (the parents) realize that these are kids (!), not adults. They need direction, boundaries, policing!!!

Are these nice kids? Yes.
Do all the parents wish they could bank on that fact and skate through teen treachery without a worry in the world? Yes.
Is that going to happen? No.

It’s a slippery slope. Stay proactive. Stay on top of it. (Boy do I need to hear this!).

I never left my toddler alone to play in the kitchen unsupervised without bit of safe guarding. I always assumed he would scoot a stool over to the enticing knife drawer or to those fun knobs that ignite a gas stove. A baby unchecked is a disaster waiting to happen. A teen unchecked is the same thing – even the best of them. So may we never be naive as we travel mine-infested territory. With technology advancing at warp speed, it will take a team effort to stay on top.

I’m sure glad I’m walking it with y’all!

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