When I was pregnant and got the news that we were having a girl I was shocked. Once the reality of the fact that yes indeed there is a tiny human in my uterus and it is a girl the shocked feeling melted in the excitement. A little girl! A best friend for life. Then it hit me. I have to raise up a little girl in this new age where the internet and social media is so readily available. To be honest that is kinda scary.
I was reading a magazine the other day and I came across a “Books to Read” suggestion list. One of the books on the list was American Girls Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales. The blurb on the book went on to say “I was shocked by how common sending nude selfies is-some girls told me they started receiving them in sixth grade,” says Nancy Jo Sales, author of American Girls, for which she talked to teens around the country about their social-media lives. “The stories would just tumble out of them. They want guidance, for someone to ask what they’re dealing with.”
I immediately snapped a photo of the cover of the book and the blurb and sent it to Mike and said that I need to read this and I need to read it before #babybigtruck gets her own phone or any social media account. To which he responded: NO! Read the first 3 lines. She is never getting a phone. Never going online without one of us in the room with her. A Little dramatic? Maybe but I could relate.
Like I said, I could relate to his feelings. I want to protect her. I do not want her to experience nude selfles or any crude behavior online for that matter. What about online bullying? What about online predators? I do not know what I would do if she fell victim to either one of these things. Gosh it makes my skin crawl.
I know we will be taking active measures to monitor and protect her and her online presence. I told Mike that when we feel she is ready and starts to become active on social media I WILL have all her passwords to all her accounts and I WILL monitor what she is posting and who she is “friends” with and what they are posting and if I see something I think is inappropriate it’s game over for her. I WILL be “friends” with her on all her social media platforms so I can see what is going on as well. If she has a problem with that then the simple answer is no social media.
Mike and I continued to talk and we both realize a lot of this comes down to how we raise her and who she is surrounded by. Proverbs 22:6 came to mind while we were talking. Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. So much truth right there. If we start her off on the right path she will continue on it. If we lay the groundwork and the ground rules before she even gets her own accounts there shouldn’t be many issues. Of course I am sure we will run into our own issues which we will discipline accordingly but I take comfort of that promise of God. Proverbs 13:13-14 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death.
We can only hope and pray that God will guide us in the direction we are to take with #babybigtruck as she gets older and wants to start having an online identity. Scary as it may be we know that the only way we will get through it is by the grace of God.