As far as texting, there are now ways to block numbers from an iPhone straight from the contact. If your children are experiencing this type of bullying or harassment, blocking is there for your benefit. There are also ways to have every text your child sends and receives also come to your Mac. Use it. You simply log into their Apple ID from the iMessage app on your Mac or have the same Apple ID for every phone in your family. This might seem shady but seriously don’t believe for a minute they need privacy, I’m saying this in all serious. Cell phones and social media have gotten 10x worse since I was in middle school and I thought it was bad then. Some children do not know how to handle phones and social media at their fingertips, and there are options to protect your children from those people.
Ask.fm is the most horrific thing I have ever seen in my life. I know I have told you about this but it continues to get worse. If you do not know, Ask.fm is a social media app where you can be asked questions by anyone about anything anonymously. But your profile is not anonymous. Your name and picture can be on this profile. The content is monitored by no one. Almost always, I have read the Ask.fm of a middle school girl and there are sexual references, cuss words, and “have you ever” questions. Whether or not your children answer these questions (which posts on their “wall” for the anyone in the world to see) they read the questions, that gets put into their mind, and if it does show up on their wall, they chose to answer it. Simply putting the link in your Instagram bio gives anyone access- children, moms, teachers anyone who pulls up your children’s Instagram can access their Ask.fm and the questions and things they are saying if there link is there. Instagram bios are not private even if your child’s Instagram is private. Ask.fm privacy settings cannot be changed to private. It is a come all, serve all.
Here is a link I found with 10 frightening facts about Ask.fm all parents show know- http://www.chicagonow.com/tween-us/2013/10/facts-about-ask-fm-parents/
Again, asking your children about these things is not invasion of privacy. This is protecting them and their minds. The things I have seen on Ask.fm is robbing innocence and purity.
Two more anonymous social media apps have been brought to my attention- Whisper and Secret. They have the same concept without the questions. You can post anything to these apps anonymously. Secret takes your friends from your phone and creates a little community with friends of friends also. This creates a social media where nobody knows who anyone is and anything can be said. Can you imagine the bullying potential from that? Both apps offer “social media without repercussions.” It’s all about being able to be yourself because nobody knows who you are. What is that teaching our children? That you have to hide yourself to be able to express yourself? Nothing good is coming out of the power of anonymity.
I think it’s really important to make sure your children know that anything they send over text messages or social media is out there forever. And just like I am suggesting you look at your children’s phones, if you don’t already, I can bet you $5 that there are other moms out there that do look at their children’s phones and they are seeing what your children are saying and doing. There are repercussions in all text or social media and bullying cannot be tolerated. Something as simple as Text messaging is being turned into an easier way to bully and something to hide behind to totally destroy someone. If you remember middle school, you probably remember being completely vulnerable. Middle school is the hardest part of life for most girls. It was absolutely horrible for me and that is way I am trying to protect your girls from having it even worse than it’s already going to be. Our girls are trying to figure out who they are and who they’re going to be. Could you imagine doing that with the pressures of today’s social media and smart phones? Girls are getting on Ask.fm and lying answering these questions because the truth “isn’t cool enough.” What if they start to do these things because they are already getting asked about them as 12 and 13 year olds? Do you see what I’m saying? Peer pressure is coming to text messaging and social media. With these things, peer pressure and bullying is something you can hardly get away from. Please talk to your children about these things. I know it doesn’t matter what people think, but I know you don’t want anyone thinking your children are bad examples because of the things they’re saying on their Ask.fm. Please protect them. All of this goes for boys too, I just know my girls and what they’re going through.