Nostalgia. Ever since Miss Thing was born I’ve had a mad case of nostalgia for my childhood. I would LOVE it if Miss Thing could experience the kind of childhood that I did, growing up in a small town where you had to be home when the street lights turned on (rule on the block), where it was fun to play hide and seek up and down the block, bikes and rollerblades were our mode of transportation and being inside on a rainy day sucked, unless you were me and loved to read. Even now, with Miss Thing only being a year old and not quite walking on her own, we love going to the park behind our home, playing on the swings, going down the slide and exploring. We love walks, especially with Chloe (our big furbaby) and try to spend as much time outside on nice days as we can. Last spring and summer were so great, I can’t wait to experience this year when Miss Thing can run around and explore on her own!!
Just recently we were at the park playing on the swings when the school bell rang (the park is on a school property, and we happened to be there at the end of the school day) and two young girls came to play on the swings beside us. I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation and their topic of conversation literally had me speechless. They were talking about how another girl told one of them that the other was her frenemy. FRENEMY. How does a girl who is under 10 even know what that is?!?! For those of you who don’t know what it is, here is the definition: “a person with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry”. I feel so bad that this was something they were talking about, that this is something a child deals with. Being a kid should be unicorns and rainbows, getting dirty and exploring, playing tag and riding bikes. It seems like kids these days (boy does that make me feel old saying that!) are more concerned with what other kids are wearing, what other kids look like, and what other kids are saying about you. Don’t get me wrong, when I was a kid I had to deal with bullying and some kids not liking me, but 10 minutes later you were either friends or just didn’t care. There wasn’t this idea of a hierarchy of kids, those who’s parents have more money to spend on brand name clothes, or those who live in a big house with a swimming pool etc etc. Add in the new age of social media and kids as young as 10 having cell phones, and you’ve got a whole other level of perceived superiority.
Probably the scariest issue that I will have to face as a parent is bullying. I know the issues I faced with bullying as a girl, and I cannot imagine having to face those issues on a social media platform. The idea of some other kid writing something nasty about my little girl on a public forum is terrifying. If Miss Thing has a sensitive side like I do, seeing something so public will severely hurt her feelings, and I’m just not sure how well I’ll handle something like that. Trying to explain how some people can feel strong behind a computer screen to a child just seems ridiculous. I just want to raise my kid in a little house on the prairie……
The hubs and I have discussed how we’d like to raise our child, and we have agreed that unless a child is somewhere without an adult, they do not need a cell phone. When is a child under the age of 13 anywhere where there is no adult? I have no idea why parents pay tons of money for a child to have a cell phone to call, text or spend countless hours on social media. Computer time will be limited, and geared towards learning as much as possible, while we completely understand that this cannot be the case 100% of the time! Miss This doesn’t have a favourite tv show (I mean she’s only 1) and I don’t automatically go to putting on a children’s show to help entertain her. At this point in her life, she probably recognizes the Real Housewives of anywhere over Max and Ruby, loves to clap along with Steve Harvey on Family Feud and can watch the intro to Bringing up Bates for hours on a loop (they jump in the air on a trampoline, which for whatever reason seems to fascinate her).
I know what people are going to say, “well you spend time on social media during the day!” and my answer to this is yes, of course I do. But I am also an adult, able to gauge my time appropriately and am accountable to myself. We will do our best to encourage Miss Thing to spend her time playing outdoors, taking part in a sport, reading a book rather than encourage spending time on cell phones, computers or in front of the tv.
So here’s to all those parents out there trying to keep it real in this crazy technological world!