Trust and social media. Getting savvy.

I never thought I’d say it because I have always prided myself on being across new technology, and when I could afford it I was always an ‘early adopter’.

But social media has gotten away on me. How about you?

My 13 yr old son doesn’t have access to much social media – last year he got Instagram, which was great as now he’s an enthusiastic amateur photographer, stopping wherever we go for a great shot.

He had to get Snapchat for a school tech class, which I have to say I was a bit horrified at. My boy says it’s rubbish and rarely used it, although it’s used by some of his friends regularly.

These days every game is online and has open and private chat. Text and voice. He can be playing innocently, alone on FIFA (a soccer game) on PlayStation, or with an online friend, but with other friends chatting; while having multiple chat streams on Instagram (I didn’t know the phone app had all these chat features), and the occasional Snapchat thing to check, all at once…..oh, plus a YouTube clip playing benignly on his phone. Not a single ‘traditional’ means of communication to be found anywhere.

While in NZ he used my phone to restart an online game with a new account (because he was a lot further through the game on his account) and caught up to the level his cousins from NZ were on, all so they could chat online as a group and play each other.

He hasn’t got Facebook or Twitter but many of his friends have – he’s good in that he hasn’t pushed for them yet.

He’s rarely using traditional texting except with his Mum and me, and only a phone call if I’ve made him do one or he’s calling someone ‘old’ (like me). Skype isn’t used at all. Email? Pffft, yeah, he’ll check it occasionally or when I tell him.

There’s Edmodo to chat with his teachers at high school.

But you know what? I’m not worried.
Because I trust him. He knows right from wrong.
I’ve taught him that if it FEELS wrong, it probably is.

I’ve tried to make myself approachable about it all so if he does have anything he needs we can have a rational chat about it, and if it’s safe enough, I’ll probably say yes.

I said no to KIK, as it had an inbuilt browser with adult ad’s and no way of checking the history or limiting content – (I had to look that up) – but he didn’t even know about that, understood why I said no, and was OK with it. I don’t think it even exists anymore!

There are, I am sure, some methods of communicating he uses that I don’t know about. He’ll no doubt use more during tech classes in school. I do worry about cyberbullying, and the importance placed on the number of ‘likes’ generated.

I just wish I was a bit savvier. Mind you, he still comes to me if something doesn’t work. Or if he needs help with an Office product, or grammar! 🙂

My lad will no doubt make a mistake somewhere along the line. That’s OK too. I did. And do. That’s how we learn……

Maybe I am too lenient, too trusting. How are you approaching cyber conduct and access to the interweb?


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