December 13, 2012


Yesterday, as soon as the bus dropped them off, Briton blew through the door and stopped only long enough to announce that he'd won a bet about it not being the end of the world (and that it was a good bet, even if we DO NOT BET, because if it had been the end of the world and he lost, well, the world was over, so he wouldn't have to pay) then immediatly snatched the phone off the hook and dashed upstairs to "make a call".  After a while (and some strategic eavesdropping) I realized that he was talking to a girl - but not the girl, just a girl - about texting. When he appeared again he asked if we could download an app on the computer so that he could text his friends. I agreed that we could try it,  sat down to set up an account for him, and off he went.

So I find myself with a mama question this morning. We have, up until now, pretty much avoided the threat of kid cell phone talking/texting by telling Briton that he could get a cell phone when he could pay for a cell phone. I realize that that's probably not how it will really happen. There will come a day when I want him to have a phone so that I can find him. But for now, it's holding.  Yet here we are with a texting app (which I think is really an instant messaging service) on our computer. At the moment, the computer the kids use is in the kitchen, where everyone can see what is happening on it.  The idea being you won't write/do anything you don't want your mom to see if your mom is right there behind you. And yesterday, it worked as planned. Each time I passed by I read a message or two, just to check. When they started to talk about another student - the girl, as it happens (do you like her or do you like like her?) - I reminded him that he would never want to type anything he didn't want others to see. Because you never know. It prompted a good, albeit brief, discussion on how things on the Internet never really go away, even if you think they will. But oy vey! When did my son become a phone talking/instant messaging teenager?

I'd like advice, pretty please, from anyone who's been there. Because it's a little scary, this technology and kids thing. Up until now it's been so very controlled for my kids. They had sites they could go to and play on and that was it! But I can see that this texting thing is just the beginning. Do your kids have their own computers/cell phones? When did they get them? How do you check up on what they are up to? How viable is having a "family computer" when kids are doing more and more homework online?

And I thought the scariest thing that could happen on 12-12-12 is that the world would end! Clearly I hadn't imagined that kid texting would enter my life (or maybe that's what the Mayans we warning us about! Briton texting!)