Mom, please, just let me have my phone for 10 minutes — so I don’t lose my streaks.

Streaks? What the heck are streaks?

On Snapchat, streaks happen when kids send a snap to another kid. Every 24 hours . . . kids spend time just posting a quick photo to continue the “streak”. I don’t get it. What is the value in that?

Each of my kids has their own electronic and each of them use is so differently — I had no idea. (Imagine me shaking my head.) I had no idea. I HAD NO IDEA how they would use their electronics. Let me share with you what I’ve learned:

Image courtesy of Unsplash
  1. The phone will be used as a status symbol.
  2. The phone is rarely used as a phone but instead as a glorified iPod — see #1.
  3. Musically is an app where girls (and some boys) sing to music. Worst case scenario, they can look ridiculous and other girls will screenshot them looking ridiculous and then cyber bullying begins.
  4. Snapchat messages go away, unless kids save them. Kids love the idea of keeping a secret, they screen shot photos or conversations and then hide them behind a faux app that appears to be a calculator.
  5. Lively is a live stream app — kids can see anything that another kid is willing to post. Making out, body parts, offering information about . . . any topic.
  6. They have access to the internet — your child is not protected and can and probably will watch anything they want. When you give them a device with access to the internet you are handing them the equivalent to a Hustler magazine with free live porn. Or access to shows like 13 Reasons Why glorifying suicide and graphic rapes. (I’m writing more on this topic.)
  7. Instagram has direct messaging — my teen age boy gets DM’s often from naked women. I can’t make this up! I block them and we have a talk about women who take their clothes off and have photos taken.
  8. Drama is heightened via messaging and texting. My daughter can have multiple conversations going on several apps at one time. Impressive, I can barely have one conversation at a time. What I have noticed is the amount of anxiety this causes and the constant checking to see who is “on”. I have developed a strategy specific to her personality to manage this type of dialogue.
  9. The great part of messaging is when kids are planning events — they get it all sorted out and come to me with final details. I get a final text on who, what, when, where and if I need to pop a few pizzas in the oven.
  10. They take amazing photos and create very cool videos. Just for fun.

My kids electronics are like Pandora’s box. Some really great things have come about and some very ugly things. It has given my kids and myself and opportunity to engage in 21st century conversations about how to manage the daily bombardment.

This article is the first in a series about navigating kids and electronics from my conscious parenting point of view. Another article is “Mom, can I have an Instagram Account?” I am documenting my personal experience with my 4 kids and electronics — the good, the bad and the ugly. You can even follow me on Snapchat, but don’t expect any streaks from me.