We picked up my son's friends and headed for the beach yesterday. As we're driving....Joey pipes up and says.....I'm getting a Face Book account. "WHAT!?", I say. "HOW?" My mom is going to set up an account for me. My sister already did when she was my age, so it's only fair. Do you know that.....and he goes on to name many of their friends who have accounts and ARE ONLY 9.
This doesn't help that all of my son's friends have cell phones....if not smart phones.
We already know that brands really do affect young kids. Heck....last year a parent commented on my kindergarten daughters quilted back pack...she says....I love her back pack.....Where did you get it? (all the while she was sneakily being facetious) I told her Office Max and that I wasn't going to break down and let my 6 year old own a VERA BRADLEY backpack (of course even though I wanted to-hence why she got the knock off--and my daughter knew who VERA was even if she called it her VERA BRATLEY. (But that mom knew it was a knock off) She then says...well, I couldn't help it and bought mine a VERA....LAST YEAR. It just made me sad to hear someone giving in to branding at age 4 or 5. I know....it happens ALL the time....but it was just disheartening to hear.
So...that boads the questions.....what are we to do as parents? What do you stand for? Where is the line? There is nothing we can do about branding.....babies walk (or even lye) around as billboards for the brands and our children are exposed to it and and WANT it when they see others wearing it. (my baby girl had her first pair of UGGS at 3months) and for that matter today's hottest shoes....just bought my son Ziggs (Zigg Tech by Reebok...I know I am late...but he didn't NEED a pair til the end of the summer). I was informed that he would wear the Ziggs until the next hottest thing came out (but that might not be for a year or so, he says. Luckily he doesn't know about the 6month or even 3month trend cycle yet). That's my 9 year old (yes...I know...it's called the tween market). But....what CAN we do about teaching values, morals and ethics?
Things seem much different when you are living what you discussed in a corporate board room and you (I) didn't have any kids to speak of at the time.
As I write this blog...the phone rings.....it's my son calling from a friends house....Mom...what is my ipod password? I want to buy something on itunes. Ummm.....what are you buying? pause....a how to build helicopter game. So...I give it to him, BUT yes...I will check his ipod when he gets home.
Many of us, as parents, find it hard to parent our kids in our home.....technology just makes it all the more stickier. Looks like we need a manual for that too. I'm sure there are plenty out there already, but they should be front and center in the bookstore or at the library.....they should be on the best seller list for that matter.
So, I challenge, not only Mark Zuckerberg and his Face Book team, but ALL of YOU, to address and discuss among your co-workers, neighbors, spouses, senators and children what it means to stand up for what you believe in........if you believe that 13 and under audience should be allowed on Face Book....do something about it......because.....as we speak.....millions of parents are allowing their children to LIE about their age.....IS THAT WHAT WE NEED TO BE TEACHING OUR YOUTH?
For now....I stand for the truth.....and my son will not be getting a Face Book page even though "ALL" his friends have one. Yeah....the phone thing, I am going to have to give in to it, now that his world is expanding beyond our block, I want him to be safe and be able to reach me at all times.....he's only 9 and YES....he still needs his mom and guidance and monitoring....it will have parental controls and no use for Face Book.
So....MZ, parents, senators and the like I ask.....what are you doing 2day 2change 2morrow....for what you stand for today.....for what you believe today.....why are you waiting til later? What is more important than our youth....than morals and ethics? Face Book has become "THE" power house of social networks and someone needs to do something about all the LYING that is going on..... If you think it starts at a very young age.....education for social networks.....why wait....youth are learning that lying is o.k. I know that you don't want to stand for that. Do you? What do you think? Comment and start a conversation.....we need to do something......Who 2Be 2Day 2Change 2Morrow?