I am a #TalkEarly ambassador because it’s important for me to have meaningful and continual conversations with my child. It is my hope that this helps you along your journey as well.
I’ve owned a url for the Frog Princess since the Fall of 2011 when I attended my very first blogging conference and listened to Tiffany Romero talk about ownership in the digital space.
Last fall, I acquired an Instagram and Twitter account for the kid as she started showing interest in blogging and the family business. Mostly, I also wanted her to have her own place to showcase her socks (it’s become her thing this school year). While all of these decisions were made in a vacuum (this was a family decision), the way the outside world would view this was not lost on me.
You see, I know several times people questioned a then 6-year old having “social media”. When in truth, she did not. I have social media channels. The Frog Princess has zero access to those without me. And this will most likely continue for years to come. While I do ask her what kind of caption she wants on any particular image we are sharing, this is all coming through me and she can’t access anything without me.
Last fall, I got a chance to listen to my most favoritest doctor, Doc G, talk about kids, social media and screen time. At home, we’ve talked about the appropriate age for a cell phone (breaking news: we haven’t settled on one yet other than “not today”).
And listen, I totally get the statistic of 60% of 10-year-olds having cell phones. Having contact with your kid is important. So is knowing what they have eyes on.
My kid is into Minecraft. And, come to find out, she likes going on YouTube to watch people playing Minecraft (this is such a weird concept to me). Her cousin first put her on to this phenomenon. And while I don’t necessarily have a problem with it, I will tell you that it was important to me that I know what she was being exposed to. Also, she can’t get on YouTube without me knowing about it. Because you never know what might come up on searches or channels.
Interestingly enough, Common Sense Media notes that girls are more prone to spend time on Instagram (boys engage more regarding video games). I find this to be true (though my girl likes to check out Ghost Stories – aka Snapchat – for the cool filters). We use Instagram as a way to keep in touch with family and friends. She likes to scroll and give hearts. That’s her jam. It’s something we do together, usually at the end of a long day after we’ve read books and are just chilling and sharing.
Doing this together also means I get one more way to broach conversations. You’d be surprised what comes up as you’re scrolling through Instagram. Like how we follow @BrownGirlsDoBallet and how that’s allowed us to talk about history, hard work and beauty. She peruses the images and notes with delight “she is soooo cute!” at little brown girls that might just be her and oohhh and aaahhhs at videos of ballerinas doing their thing.
Those moments lead to questions. It all leads to questions. Like how “Mami Juice” kicked off discussions with both her dad and I about alcohol.
This digital influencer thing is new to me. How our kids get into the family business is kind of uncharted territory with lots of minefields to avoid. I’m glad to have research to guide me and friends like Jennifer Borget, Brandi Riley & Amber Dorsey who I can chat with about these things.
Have you had an instance of social media bringing up a conversation around alcohol or another important subject needing to be covered with your kid(s)?