Remember back in the day when students passed notes? They were chock full of juicy tales, descriptive pictures, and gory details. Now, also remember that technology changed so much in our lifetime (that’s pretty universal to anyone born in the 20th century). We used to casually joke about what the world would look like when we had children of our own.
Fast forward: That time has come. Last week, my 7-year-old son got in trouble for AIRDROPPING pictures of “hot girls” to his friend. Is this a foreign language?! Is this anything like the time my teacher found my note about my current crush and read it to the entire class? Someone please describe how this scenario fits in the “How to Successfully Raise Children” handbook, because I’m at a loss.
Years ago, I noticed cable television setting up different parental guidelines for safe scanning the TV with kids. My kids were too young to manipulate the remote, so I shrugged it off thinking that I’d note it in the future. Last month, I came down stairs to find my 5-year-old watching a steamy sex scene. I guess the time is here. My son “innocently” watches YouTube for old games. I overheard some explicit language in those replays. Suddenly, my iPad is giving him a lesson on four letter words.
When I was confronted by the Principal about my son’s indiscretion, I couldn’t help but feel like a failure as a mother and as a woman. How could I have not taught him about appropriate behavior in a school setting? Even more so, how could I have not taught him that there is so much more to women than just their physique? If he is behaving like this at age 7.5, what is he going to be like when he is a hormonal 13-year-old boy? My job is becoming much harder by the day.
It’s a scary place out there. Online predators and endless inappropriate information, it’s all at their fingertips. The world has substantially changed from the time I was wreaking havoc on society as a child. It’s no longer just the man in the van offering candy or “Skin-amax” we have to worry about. We give our kids these instruments without proper lessons on how to use them.
I don’t remember having a talk with my mom about age appropriate use of television, computers, and books. I don’t remember growing up in a world where adult media was so easily available also. A few years back when I was a child, passing notes (as distracting as that may have been from our education) really was innocent. There is nothing innocent about looking up women in very little clothes and “passing” that to your peers. Or maybe the fact that there was such an innocence to their level of comprehension just goes to show how kids in this media-driven world are forced to grow up too fast. They are forced to confront topics and issues that are far beyond their intellectual scope. No 7.5-year-old should be face-to-face with scantily clad women anywhere, let alone at school.
Last week, my child was using a school iPad, searching “hot girls” on a school-approved app during school supervision. If that isn’t a safe haven of appropriate Internet involvement, then I don’t know where is. The bottom line: There is never going to be a firewall strong enough or a sensor fool proof enough. It’s going to be our tireless job, yet again, to set limits on Internet usage, and have a transparent, ongoing conversation about the dangers out there. And to think I got all that out of some scenario I’m not sure I even understand—AIRDROPPING, huh?!?!?