Teenagers and the Web

  IClaudio 20:57 31 Mar 2009

Advice needed, please, from parents of teenagers!

When my daughters were growing up, I didn't have to worry about the dangers of the Web, and didn't need a strategy to protect them from all the wierdness. Now, they have 13-year-old daughters of their own - my grand-daughters...

One is addicted to MSN, the other to Facebook. Their online handles, and those of their mates, seem to be variants of 'Sexy_Babe', 'Hot_Lips' and so on. These are 13-year-olds.

For some months, I have been a member of the FaceBook that my grand-daughter No 2 belongs to - I don't contribute at all, but I notice that she and her friends are posting photos of their sleepovers and parties. The language is appalling!

I'm sure that my daughter (her mother) is not aware of what is going on, and I feel I should say something, but I don't want to push the alarm button until I have some advice to give to her.

As I say, I have not had to deal with this with my own daughters, but maybe those of you who have kids growing up with the Internet have ways of dealing with this... Any thoughts?

  peter99co 21:07 31 Mar 2009

Print out their details and pass them to the mother. Pussyfooting around is not going to get you anywhere. You could get blamed for not making her aware before it got so bad.

  lotvic 21:18 31 Mar 2009

Last week I visited my teenage nieces whose pc I 'look after' I was so horrified that I took the harddrive out and brought it home with me.

Yes, they did shout and swear at me to which I only replied 'Tough'

peter99co is correct, pussyfooting around is no good.

(I ought to further explain that their mum knows nothing about pc's - can't even switch one on and my brother passed away a couple of years ago)

I have yet to get round to exploring further contents of harddrive and I'm not looking forward to it :(

  Jak_1 21:34 31 Mar 2009

Stepping on stoney ground methinks! Akin to going through someone's private diary even if they are teenagers, an invasion of privacy!
I can understand your misgivings but I would have thought it would have been better to do that in front of them and their mother. I think you will find that most of it are teenage fantasies, abit like saying to your school mates you've been with x number of girls when in fact you haven't been with any! So long as they are not giving out any of their personal details then it is just harmless fun. Thing is to talk to them and make them aware of the all too many predators on the net who try to lure and groom them.
Try not to alienate them from you!

  mammak 22:29 31 Mar 2009

Some months ago, I became suspicious of my 12 yr olds addiction if you like to the Internet, mostly MSN! I became rather paranoid and in the process we stopped trusting each other, it was a terrible experience, one I don't want to go through again.

We are now slowly regaining that trust for each other.

Talk to your grandchild first, I'm sure she is a lot more sensible than you think. Good luck.

  lotvic 23:11 31 Mar 2009

Been there did that LAST YEAR

This time the school Welfare Officer came calling at the house as she had grave concerns.... and wanted action as it had spilled over into school.

And there were photo's and they had a webcam set up

Also on their Facebook identity they were saying they were 18/19 year olds when they are in fact only just turned 15 (twins). That means they are minors - you know - Children - that Adults are supposed to look after and be responsible for.

I do know the difference between harmless teenage language, boasting etc and serious trouble and I'm not an ogre.

  Forum Editor 23:33 31 Mar 2009

is to avoid using a grandfather's standards to judge what is or isn't alarming as far as the Facebook behaviour of 13 year old girls is concerned.

I endorse mammak's excellent advice that you talk to your granddaughter first - at her age she's entitled to expect that your concerns are addressed to her in the first instance, so she has a chance to put her point of view across. She may not realise that what is normal teenage behaviour to her is rather shocking to you, and she'll probably want to reassure you. Voicing your concerns to her mother first might upset and alienate her, which is surely the last thing you want to do. My guess is that your granddaughter is going through a normal teenage experimenting process - seeing how far she can push boundaries, and wanting to identify with a peer group. Bad language between teenagers is a manifestation of this process, and in my experience it tends to recede as time goes on.

Shocking your parents and grandparents is a teenage tradition, and one that isn't likely to die out anytime soon. Having fun with your mates on the internet is now an important part of growing up, and older generations must learn to accept it and live with it. Attempts at suppression only lead to concealment - forbidden fruits are often the tastiest of all - and there's probably very little harm that can come to your granddaughter from messing around with her mates on Face book.

  lotvic 00:34 01 Apr 2009

I should have made it clear that the girls 'cleaned up' the harddrive prior to my removing it to both deprive them of it for 2 weeks (as a disciplinary measure suggested by the Welfare Officer) and for it to be cleaned of Virus and malware - that's the bit I'm not looking forward to doing.

  Covergirl 13:01 01 Apr 2009

. . . . to when I was a teenager, I think my antics were somewhat akin to what kids are doing now, although we didn't have computers.

Getting drunk at school discos, girlfiends/boyfriends (and all associated activities - ahem !), hanging out at the shops or in the streets, smoking etc were part of normal growing up / life skills, and I see friends teenage sons and daughters on FB getting up to all sorts of madness.

OK, none of the ones I know are called "zxy lipz" or similar, but I did have a spell on AOL and was contacted by "xxxhot_boobsxxx" who appeared to be a young lass from the other side of town wanting to make friends. If you're currently on AOL, see who is online in your area to prove the point. Or just do a search on FB, BeBo,MSN or similar for user names of this ilk.

In my opinion, it's all part of "growing up" so leave them alone and let them get on with it. "Forbidden fruits . . . " etc is part of FEs advice and it holds very true.

The only time to worry is if they're contacting "unknowns" i.e. the stalkers/groomers etc. and kids should be taken aside and have this unsavoury aspect of social networking explained to them in clear and candid detail.

  IClaudio 17:52 01 Apr 2009

Thanks for all the sage advice... my main worry here is not really the colourful language (I can remember my own three daughters and their friends going through similar rites of passage), but that it is now on display, for any passing stranger to see (or are FaceBook groups less public?).

fourm member, I have already tried that, when the gd posted that '[an "artist" of some kind that I'd never heard of] is HOT' - she thought it very amusing that I hadn't the faintest idea who she was talking about. So, she knows that I see her postings.

But it's a good idea to speak to her directly and leave Mum out of it...

  rossgolf 18:41 01 Apr 2009

im sure the teenagers in question know what there doing and yes it may be colourful language but its life. its what goes on in school and it will do for years to come.

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