I joined Instragram a month ago in order to keep a closer eye on the kids while they play on various apps. You can read the post here. This is a follow up post on my experience so far.
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There are weird men following me on Instagram.
There’s some normal ones too, but this post isn’t about them. The normal ones are welcome and I follow them back. Like one of my kids’ hockey coaches, or my friend in the UK, among others. 😉
Anyway, about the weirdos…
The whole point why I joined IG is exactly for this reason:
I want to see what activity happens on the social media my kids are interested in.
Here’s the thing. The dude who ‘likes my profile picture’ does not speak English well, which isn’t a problem in itself, but his wording is creepy. Just the way he repeated some words about ‘knowing you more and more’ is off-putting.
Imagine if a message like that reaches a young teen. Ick.
Clicking on his profile tells me his account is private and I have to follow him back to access it.
Not interested. Ick ick.
Instead, I’m able to use this example to explain to the kids how to recognize, and handle such a situation.
I can explain many things to them, like how the picture he uses as his profile is probably fake, or about luring language, that kind of thing.
I engage my kids by asking them questions:
- Why does it sound weird?
- What about this request would make you feel uncomfortable?
- How is he trying to engage me?
Looking back at the beginnings of social media, I realize now that I made many mistakes when I started joining various apps. Back then, when it was all new and I was a first-time mom home alone with a baby, I jumped in somewhat blind. I was enticed by the possibilities. The internet was evolving and growing, communities were building, blogs were being created, apps started up and became more commonplace…it was all very captivating. In addition, I wanted to maintain, and improve my computer skills. I realized that the internet was here to stay and I was going to need my skills for future income potential. Staying home with a baby meant I had that opportunity – after all, there are many self-improvement opportunities these days you can take part in just by clicking the right link, the right youtube video, the right tutorial.
I have no regrets joining when I did. Because all of this experience, and the massive amount of reading I do on the web, I feel better equipped to navigate the kids’ internet activities today. My positive and negative experiences have taught me a thing or two which I can now share with the kids.
Face it, the internet is here to stay. At least until the zombie apocalypse happens…🙃
It’s almost second nature these days, with the kids and their constant internet obsession, isn’t it.
Another thing I’ve come to realize: it’s rare that I unplug often. Even if I want to, it seems practically impossible. The kids sports alone take up a lot of time with the various apps, as does their school communications, constant renewals of registrations, fundraising activities and all the rest of it. Email is ongoing…
Some days the kids remark on our complaints that they spend too much time on screens. They claim we spend just as much time with electronics as they do. It’s unfortunate that they don’t truly realize that much of our time isn’t watching fortnite, hockey or slime-making videos, but rather updating schedules or dealing with similar obligatory activities. I mean, I pay bills online, sometimes I shop online too. I work. And read. Or write (like now…that’s my pleasure and I’m not letting anyone get in the way of that. Boo.)
“Why don’t you transfer your hockey schedule into the family calendar for me instead of watching whatever you’re looking at,” I might say to a kid. “I’d much rather do anything else than deal with google calendar now.”
He’s not really into it.
“Feel free to read the school newsletter and mark down pertinent dates on the family calendar for me,” I might suggest to the other kid.
She’s too busy creating a new slime version she saw on a 5 minute craft app thingy on IG. 🙄
So I keep plugging away, maintain an interest in all things internet while those kids of mine still live here at home, and hope for the best.
Interestingly enough, sometimes I even learn something from them. Just the other day I was educated on how to post a video of a cackling witch on IG by my 11yo.
“It’s not taping.” I said to her.
“You have to hold down the button the entire time,” she said. “Otherwise it stops taping”.
As far as the creepy men who follow me?
I’m not looking for connections with you. Buzz off.