So, if you are a listener of my podcast, you know that I have a 13 year old daughter. If you have a 13 year old daughter, or son, you know that social media is crazy alluring to them… Well, I had always told my daughter than she was not allowed on any social media until she was 13, those are the rules of the different apps, and I was happy to use that as an out.
Her 13th birthday was in January. She was chomping at the bits excited to finally, finally, have her own instagram account. Not only that, she wanted to talk snapchat and musically, and oh yeah, “What about twitter mom?”
Hahaha, you wish my sweet girl! What I told her was, yes, she is 13 now, so yes, the social media door was going to crack open – CRACK OPEN – not fly off the hinges for a free-for-all of all the social media platforms she could find…
“But can I please just have a snapchat account??”
Now, if you are a parent, you have read at LEAST one article, one blog post or seen one show about the SM apps to keep your kids off of – and snapchat is always at the top of the list.
Why is that? Because snaps leave no trail, the messages - or pics or videos – show up and then POOF they are gone. There is nothing left for parents to monitor. Plus, there is this idea that because of the “poof” factor, kids are going to be less cautious? Less thoughtful? Gaurded? I don’t know…. But apparently they are all sending each other dick pics and boob shots – “nudies.”
Or at least, that is what the media around snapchat would have you believe.
Anyways, all of this conversation kept me from saying yes to Snapchat, Instagram is enough for now… And, by the way, there may just not be enough time in the day for all this social media…
So the daughter knew my stand.
About a month ago, I had a business coach suggest that I use snapchat to reach a new audience… “Really?” I said, “You think there are parents on Snapchat?” Give it a try, she encouraged, see what happens.
I decided to get on, plus, I thought it would give me a bit more background information if I was going to argue with my daughter about not being on it – I could speak more from a place of knowing and understanding the app.
So I have been playing on snapchat, actually asking my daughter for help along the way, understanding that she plays around with her friends snapchat accounts so of course she would know how to navigate it (I know, how dumb am I?)…
Fast forward to last Sunday – I am playing a bit with Snapchat and wondering how I can find more people to follow, and I see that I can search my contacts to see who is on Snapchat. Awesome.
Oh yes. There she is. My sweet, smart, helpful, slightly sassy girls name pops up as a contact with Snapchat.
So guess what I did? I sent her a text which read, “Hi Babe, I just sent you a follower request on snapchat. We need to talk.”
I know, so passive aggressive.
A few minutes later she comes outside, sheepishly hanging her head. Once she saw that I wasn’t full of rage, or flying off the handle, she gave me a small smile and a “sorry mom….”
She is not sneaky (or at least not very sneaky). This was the first time she was “caught” doing something that she knew was not allowed.
And I am so happy she did!!
Other than using an app I asked her to stay off of, there was really no other mischief going on. There were no nudies, no bullying friends, it was all really innocent. She had the chance to get sneaky and she got caught.
The gift of this situation is that I actually think it brought us closer together. Like I mentioned, I didn’t fly off the handle or get blame-y or punish her. Instead we had a really powerful discussion about how there would be more opportunities to be sneaky… And sometimes whe would “get away with it” but most of the time, “I will get caught” she said.
“And every time you get caught, you will notice things will get a bit more rigid in your world,” I told her.
I am proud of the way I handled this situation. Our relationship remained intact, there was never any blaming and anger directed at me – no entitled “that's so unfair!” Instead, we were able to have a coherent discussion around limits and trust.
I am sure this won’t be the last time she tries to pull a fast one. In fact, I know it won’t be the last time… And the Snapchat bust showed my daughter that I can handle it.
We will see what kind of mischief she gets onto in the coming years… All I know is that the most powerful tool I have for influencing her behavior and her choices, is the relationship we are in, so that is what I choose to continue to focus on.
Plus, I was no angelic teen.
Much love, Casey