Apologies if this subject has been discussed recently, I have just signed up for this forum. My 13 year old adopted son has a phone and has WhatsApp but is not allowed any other social media sites. We have the Family Link app installed on it, so we can control his apps, time he spends on his phone etc. He has managed to get round these controls though and has used Snapchat and Instagram. He uses Snapchat mostly to get in touch with girls from anywhere and everywhere, and they ‘date’, totally via social media. He is at an all boys special school. He has sneaked his phone upstairs multiple times and sends people he doesn’t know topless photos of himself. He uses sexualised and mysogonistic language generally , which has been also noticed in school. There has also been a previous difficulty with WhatsApp with his friends from school when they were sending racist comments and videos to each other. He thinks he knows the dangers of social media but is actually very naive, and is very angry and abusive around the subject of social media when it is bought up at home. He feels we are too strict and don’t trust him (which we don’t to be honest). Are we being unreasonable? And does anyone have any tips on how we can explain the dangers of social media to a teen who thinks he knows it all (& has an O.D.D diagnosis). Thank you for reading my long post!
Social media and access to it can be an absolute nightmare in my experience! Not helpful I know. And it doesn’t always get easier as they get older and need more privacy. Once they get to 16 then it gets harder to police.
We put controls in via our ISP. I still have some websites and subjects blocked. No porn. But of course they can and do get round that by using mobile data or someone else’s WiFi. Where there’s a will ….
We also got school involved. There’s a youth team on-site so they were brought in to give a generalised talk on internet safety and security so it wasn’t aimed solely at one particular child.
I have removed devices when necessary on the basis that it’s my job to keep them safe and if they can’t use social media safely then they can’t be allowed to access it. Didn’t make me popular.
I now also have my 21 year old son keep an eye on his siblings..they’re all Instagram (Facebook is for us oldies apparently!) so if there’s anything not quite right it does come back to me via one or the other.
Ultimately it’s unlawful to share certain photographs so I’m not afraid to use that.
It’s so hard to get the balance right and to protect vulnerable children. I don’t look at my kids phones any more - the youngest two are 16 and 18 - but I think they’re more sensible now. 🤞
Agree, its a nightmare
I never allowed devices upstairs, resulting in a daily search at bedtime to locate the phone as he would always try and hide it to sneak upstairs, I deleted snapchat and instragram pretty much every week.
If he can’t use it sensibly I’d also take the whats app off.
I would also get the school involved - are they aware of whats going in with the school group.
No you arent being unreasonanable, and you will be more than unpopula. My son learned a few hard lessons but by the time he was 16 could just about be trusted.
There was a really good video campaign which I thought was effective in showing the danger - quite hard hitting but got the message across - I’ll if I can find a link
You are not alone. I have taken away my 15 year old daughter's phone for similar reasons. Parental controls are completely useless. None of the them work properly. SM companies could not care less about children's safety. And my daughter knows the dangers, but cannot act accordingly due to poor impulse control. She says "she knows, but she wants to know how it feels". Well, I don't.
So we removed her phone last year and since then life has been pure bliss (in that respect). My daughter loves reading, so we got her a Kindle instead, which has been helpful. She also has a vintage ipod, so that she feels she has some access to technology and she can use a computer at home for school work and for watching movies. That is working out fine. She was very angry about it at first, but has got used to it.
In fact, she has been so good, I have now told her she will get her phone back in September, but only to use outside our home. At home, she will have to hand it in straight away. Wish me luck.
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