As parents we set rules. For hundreds of years there have been rules set upon children, why should it change now? Rules have been made and passed down from generations to keep our children safe. Safe from physical, social and emotional harm. So very often I find myself explaining rules to JC and how I do not just make up these rules because I find it enjoyable. Because as of lately, I truly believe my child thinks I make new rules to ruin his life and that it has become my favorite hobby. How could it not be, right?
Of course there are rules of not talking to strangers, looking both ways before crossing, and not sticking your finger in the outlet...the list goes on. All mom's favorites to prevent physical harm, but as parents are we remembering to set rules to prevent the emotional or social harm for our children?
Sure we have spoken to JC about social rules, but more so lately we speak on his level, the elementary level. Things that happen in school. Bullies is the one I can think of right off hand. Kids can be mean, evil and down right cruel to one another. We have spoken to him about how to handle mean kids, we *try* to teach him how to be a polite young little boy. Doesn't always work, but we try. What's the oldest rule we have had in our family thus far ? That would be the ever famous "keep your hands to yourself" ,"for the love of God, keep your hand to yourself." Teaching an ADHD child social rules has proven to be interesting...
The list of rules goes on and on, but now as he is getting older we are finding ourselves having to make new rules. Rules that our parents didn't have to worry about for us. Rules to help keep him safe in many ways. Rules of the Internet.
Mind you until this past summer, JC had not been on the Internet for at least a year. When he was on it, I was sitting in the same room watching him. There were silly games on Disney, some stupid penguin game and some other non sense out around that time. He played, he was monitored and was NEVER allowed to chat. Our rule for him was to never chat with people we can't see, even if they say they are kids. Another being that mom or dad had to be in the room with you.
The Internet can be dangerous for kids and we are about to have this discussion again with JC. I'm sure we will be telling him that kids can get hurt by putting their faith into thinking that they are chatting with kids, when they are "bad" adults. We have to have the conversation of not sharing personal information about yourself (even though mom does to some extent online). The list of dangers from social media/networking is a long one too. The horror stories of bullying and slander used by kids on sites such as myspace is disgusting. These are the things I worry about for my son, cyber bullying.
Just this past weekend JC played on the computer while at a grandparent's house. He was being monitored but went unmonitored for about an hour.( silly parents thought he was still playing the approved online game). At the end of the day, he confessed to going to sites that mom and dad would have not allowed. (nothing awful, just not within our set boundaries for an 8 year old). Knowing that it was "inappropriate" as he put it, he still went.
After explaining our disappointment of him making a bad decision, but praising him for being honest, Mr. CE came to the conclusion to just say, "some things you see on the Internet, you can't ever un-see". Plain and simple.
It's so true. What you may see or read can never be unseen. It may not cause you physical pain, but it can cause emotional pain at times. I know because as I was writing this post about setting rules for my son, I didn't listen to my own advise or my own rules. Knowing it wasn't a good idea, I still typed in that web address and continued to read. (dumb ass CE)
I set rules, but I, myself didn't follow them. How dumb is that? Because as Mr. CE wisely put it, "some things can never be unseen (or read)." After reading something online today, I wish I hadn't and now I can't stop feeling the emotional sting from it. Even hours later.
I suppose one day I'll listen to my own rules and follow my advise...maybe that's the key...