Friday, August 17, 2012

Questions...

Writing this blog today comes with a myriad of emotion....ANGER being number one. What I have learned through AA is that under that ANGER, that I cling to like a rabid dog, is FEAR.

I am a good mother. I have regrets, of course, after all, I am a mother. We live for these kids, don't we? We laugh and cry...our hearts break for them and our hearts live for them. They are 50% of everything we are. When my daughters laugh, there is NO better feeling on this earth, no greater sound I have heard.
 I am a strict mother. There are rules and you WILL follow them. Your best friend doesn't have to take the trash out? too bad for her. Too bad she will never learn the importance of that task in her life....you WILL. I am a firm believer that kids live up to our expectations of them and if we are calling them names and treating them like assholes, they will give us what we expected. <I say that KNOWING kids will be assholes regardless. They are kids and human and have bad days....I am hoping you are following me here.>
I am NOT friends with my kids. Friendship comes after lessons. Years of learning and lessons. We have fun...pj day, movie night, board games, cake for dinner, running, sprinklers, waking up at midnight to play in the snow.....
I have bathed them, held them, cried with them, screamed with them, read with them, fed them, rushed them to the ER, kissed boo boos, laughed and laughed with these girls of mine. We have come back from bad, made it through stresses and I pray they are learning good from me. I say all of this because I know you are the same kind of parent. I write this because this CAN happen to ANYONE.

So I will begin with a question....If you were to pick up your child's iPod, cell phone/smart phone, computer, notebook, iPad...lifted up their mattress and go through their drawers, What would you find? Do you know? Do you know where to look, the nooks and crannies of a kids mind?

Do you know that they can skype, facetime, eamil, tumblr, Text+, KIK, facebook, message, instagram, all without your permission? They can hide that shit....they can create profiles and send out pics and have it all to be seen by the public. BY ANYONE.

They can do it all without you knowing. All for free.

Do you know the passwords to all of your kids shit? From iPods to smart phones to facebook? Do you know all of their usernames? DO YOU CHECK?  Do you SURPRISE check? Do you go through drawers and under mattresses?
Are you laughing and running around with your innocent child/teen just to discover, hours later, everything she/he has said is a fucking lie? That when you checked shit out, you were not going deep enough, far enough to find the hidden truths?
Did you know that in Illinois, sending out underaged nude pics is child porn? The sender and receiver can spend the rest of their lives registered as a sexual predator. Let that soak in a sec. 12,13,16,18,24,38,45....a life sentence, really.
Did you know if your kid downloads that shit onto YOUR computer and you do not know, for some reason your computer is searched and it is found, YOU are now the one with kiddie porn?

Have you Googled your kids name? Have you surprised searched every single place possible? Is your answer NO because they are honor students? Never been in trouble, Polite, kind, funny, good citizen/sibling/person?  They have never given you a reason to check?.........

CHECK. Go NOW. Go search through their shit. Go get those passwords, usernames....they play moshi monsters? Oh, they "know" johnny? Guess again....
I recently had to call my daughter's bestie's mother to inform her that her daughter, who "does not have access to those sorts of things like facebook" was talking to "someone" she met via Moshi Monsters. On the phone. For some strange reason, he did not want to facetime or skype with her, just to talk. How FUCKING terrifying.
She is a good kid. An honor student. Polite. Her mom is a teacher. Good family.
I will avoid the horrors of what may have been, what could have been, and the fact that the "boy" vanished after a call from her mom.
These girls can be blackmailed if sending out photos. Racy photos. Blackmailed by peers. Blackmailed into doing things so nobody tells their parents, manipulated and FEARED into doing things they would NOT normally do. Oh, your kid would come to you if being threatened or manipulated or was scared...Your kid knows what a bad guy is and what to do, what to look for. Your kid isn't "stupid" or "knows better"? Your kid has been "raised right" and can be trusted. Your daughter has high self esteem and feels too good about herself for that nonsense? You keep your kids so busy they have to stay out of trouble. We monitor everything and have parental controls.....

So. Did. I.


61 comments:

  1. wow. Agree with you. I think since the computer puts an automatic veil of anonymity, it's that much easier for creeps to come out of the woodwork. Honestly, I probably don't do enough of what you said, and I have kids about the age to start getting worried about. I'm sorry you have to go through that, and I'm sorry for the kids that trust is now something to be wary of.

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  2. Lessons first, friends later. I like that. I'm a lot stricter than some of the mom's I know and not nearly strict enough in some places (housekeeping skills), but I'm getting better. I have repeatedly told my kids that may not have facebook accounts until they're older because there are some people out there that like to trick people and then hurt them and as a mom, it's my job to try and stop that by teaching them to make good decisions.

    I was a VERY sneaky kid (what alcoholic wasn't? lol). I have always taught my girls that if they do something wrong and I find out, they'll probably be in trouble. If they do something wrong and TELL ME about it right away, I can help them decide what should have been done and what needs to be done next and that consequences may or may not be appropriate. I have also drilled into their heads that if they do something and LIE to me about it, they will be in TWICE as much trouble as they would have been without the lie. (On a side note, lying also gets them a few drops of Tabasco sauce on the tongue. I wouldn't have believed it, but it has pretty much cut out the bold-face lying that was getting too easy for them. Peppery sauce FTW!)

    I share your fears Mama. You're doing a great job!

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  3. Oh, noo! I did not expect that abrupt ending, but I completely identify. With every single thing you said about digging, and digging deeper, and it still isn't deep enough. Even the best of kids surprise you with secrets buried deep! And when it comes to light, it can be SO devastating! It was for us.

    I'm sorry for whatever happened to your daughter. Thank you for having the courage to post this with such honesty.

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  4. My children do not have unfettered access to their computer. They are entirely locked out unless a parent is in the office with them. They do not have smart phones. Dumb phones only... Not even internet capable. Xbox and Wii are not allowed online. I know every password that they have. Restrictive? You betcha. And that's how it's always going to be.

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    1. I am also very restrictive. I do not think we can restrict too much. Thank you for commenting.

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  5. What?? Tell me, what happened?
    Scary! So scary! We can never underestimate the potential our children have for curiosity. To be impressionable. To make impulsive choices. Always vigilant. Always.
    I'm sharing for sure!

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    1. Give an inch, they take a mile....;)
      Thank you for sharing!

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  6. We had no expectation of privacy as kids and teenagers and I am thankful for that. I can't imagine being a parent with the technology available. "Sexting" by minors is considered child porn in Texas too and they do prosecute for it. Kids just don't have the capacity to understand how vast 'for the rest of your life' is.

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    1. It is terrifying what can happen. I have been sick for days off of the "what if's"
      Thank you for commenting;)

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  7. I check all my kids stuff... Agree totally, it's not like when we were kids they had to talk to your parents before you got to the phone. Great post, I have a similar one from a few weeks back.

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    1. Hiya!
      I am going right now to read your blog and like your page. Thank you for commenting;)

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  8. My kids don't even know their passwords to their emails. You're so right about it. I was a sneaky kid and the internet just began to thrive right in the middle of high school. What happened? I met a guy 5 years older than me and got pregnant. Changed everything. So my kids have a really strict life. It only took one stupid decision.

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    1. Most kids are sneaky, I think. Testing limits, seeing how far they can push. You are doing good, hang in there;)

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  10. Thank you thank you thank you for this, so perfectly written, so important, so DEAD ON. You nailed it, and I'm so happy that you're speaking out. My kids are 9 and 10, just entering that digital age, and I do check. And I have been surprised. Once. Now I check more often. And I always will. Thank you for also believing that it's not an intrusion on their privacy, but a loving and involved parent. Kudos to you and to your lovely blog!

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    1. Thank you so very much for the support!

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  11. So, let me get this straight. You're hot, you're sober, you're smart, you're funny, you're kind-hearted, you're grateful, AND you're a good parent?

    Two words: OVER-FUCKING-ACHIEVER!!!

    This was amazing. Love you, girl.

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    1. HA! Stop it....(go on)Love you too;)

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  12. I've had similar issues. My boy is 11, and he's sneaky as hell. I have the internet turned off on all of his devices and took away his netbook (that had netnanny because I wasn't totally stupid) after repeat instances of porn sites and emails. I'd love for him to learn how to navigate technology, but not at the expense of his safety. now i have to password protect my computer when i walk away from it, and he's not allowed to be on my phone or ipad either. of course, none of this matters when you find out the the kids they hang out with have computers with unlimited internet access, and when questioned their parents say: "oh, he doesn't do that kind of stuff." it amazes me how intentionally blind people are! *sigh* i blogged about it a while back, post called "Porn: A Cautionary Tale."

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    1. Thank you for commenting. It's scary for all ages, right?

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  13. As a mom with younger children, these years ahead scare the living hello out of me. In a time when technology is king and EVERYwhere, who knows what will be available when they have access. It is terrifying and overwhelming and I appreciate this so much because, we all need a good slap in the face when it comes to being vigilant. Thank you for sharing something so real and making me think about what I need to do to adequately prepare for the future.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. It's been a real challenge, this technology and tracking it all;) Everyone's support means a great deal.

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  14. Awesome post!! The reason that I have Facebook and My Space & God only knows what else is my son. When he was 13 he was sneaking computer time. I created a MySpace profile & a fake profile, etc- same with Facebook & he randomly added me - just because I asked. I was furious, but it gave me the "in" on what he was up to, who he was talking to, etc - the stuff I could see when I couldn't see. That was 7 years ago... things progress every single day. Thank you for the reminder that no matter how smart we are, they are a step ahead of us - we need to be 5 steps ahead of them. XXOO

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    1. 5 steps ahead and 2 steps behind! Thank you for commenting!

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  16. You know what chaps my ass? People who say, "I don't go through my kids' rooms; they need their privacy." Bullshit. My kids knew if I suspected any wrongdoing, nothing they had was sacred. When they yelled, "It's MY room!", I pointed to upwards and said, "It's under MY roof!" When I found the note under my daughter's mattress when she was 12 and the note writer was 17, the note that said what night he'd be there and for her to come out her window, I nailed that sucker shut with the longest nail I could find. I guarantee you that window hasn't been opened since. You have to stay on top of this. Don't let anyone tell you that you are wrong about it. You are a good parent!

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    1. I totally agree. Thank you for reading;)

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  17. I completely agree with you. Of course I am not there yet my oldest is 6 but 10 year from now I can guarantee I will be checking this list more than once and more often than once a week! Thank you for the great advice.
    Happy Little Feet

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    1. Thank you for reading the post and commenting!

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  18. holy fuck! very powerful... I had to take a minute...

    my seven year old saw a moshi monster commercial and begged me to let her play... I sneaked a peak... it was advertised on a kiddie channel, innocent, right?! So, I signed her up... She said something about a friend... that night I was close to somber, when all of a sudden I shot out of bed... I signed on and played for awhile going into rooms...needless to say it served as a big friggin wake up call. I thought I knew better...gah!

    I must step up my game... for me I started when I was 13... I was very sneaky... I very seldom to never got caught... until life caught me many years later jobless, broke and without a home!

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    1. It's so scary the amount of trouble to be had out there...no matter the parenting style, we must stick together to prevent tragedy. xoxo

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  19. My 13 year old has caused me horrible trouble with this stuff!!!!! He currently has NO phone bcs of what I found in it and until I figure out how to get it through his thick ass skull, He can't have one!!!!!!!


    Gah!

    There is tooooo much access and they do NOT get it at all. They think ts all innocent. He has said as much and I want to choke him. Lucky for him, he is 5 ft 11. This is scary!!!!

    Awesome post!!!!

    Love you!

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    1. Love you so much too! It's not easy for us parents...of boys or girls.

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  20. oooouuu.. i like you, you're my kind of mama.

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  21. Yes, yes & hell yes! I learned those valuable lessons a couple of years ago. Painful. Wretched. Necessary. Every parent beware.

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    1. It can be a hard lesson, it can be a fatal lesson....thank you.

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  22. We just had this happen with my trustworthy, honor roll, confident, beautiful-and terrified daughter. Bullied by an ex who threatened suicide.

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    1. Yep...it's very easy to fall into the fact that these kids are good kids, so we tend to not check on the good ones as much;)

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  23. Wow. Incredibly scary stuff. my kids are still too little to get online for anything other than school stuff. I was raised in a home where i had no expectation of privacy and that is how i am raising my kids. thanks for writing this and sending me a wake up call.

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    1. I live NOW with the NO privacy law...thank you for the comment.

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  24. My son is 3 so I'm not parentally at that place that he has access to internet and computers but I can understand your fear and need to be strict. I am a godmother to my husband's best friend's little girl. She is 11 and has a Facebook. Her dad set it up but I know he doesn't check it. It scares me because she is a beautiful girl and very trusting (of everyone)Her mother is very uninvolved in her life even tho she lives there half time. She has been in trouble with the law as has the dad, that was the reason for her mom asking my husband and I to be godparents. I can tell you right now that if something were to happen and she was living with us shit would change!!! I do not like her having a fb at age 11. There's a reason for the age restriction and guess what?! It pissed me off when I found out. I asked my husband if her dad checked her account and such. He said he didn't think so. I panicked! She is already like a daughter to me. and I cannot handle the thought of her being hurt! Okay done with my rant. Loved what you wrote,

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    1. Thank you so much. It is scary how on top of this shit one needs to be.
      Why can't it always be safety first?

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  25. This was awesome to read. I have had issues with my Teen for years. He is too fucking smart. Figured out passwords more than twice. In Junior High is was "Boob"-Tube that his friends told him to look at. Found it in the History of the computer. (So he is not THAT smart, lol!) He was so embarrassed he literally stared at me as he purposefully fell down the stairs. Freaked me out, did not know if I should have him put in counseling for that stunt. FB, had "fiends" on his games that were 30 year old women in lingerie. Snuck around in the middle of the night to play video games or get on my husband's business computer. It got a virus. He's been grounded and had things taken away. He stole back his Nano. Then it was his iTouch. He has lost his Wii and Xbox. All of these he bought himself and now the family owns. My husband has the iTouch now. He has a dumb phone, as do we all. Not only because we are cheap to get them, but what if he had one? What more trouble would he find? Things have calmed down. He knows we always find out or catch him. He can only get on the computer with me logging him in and being in the room. It is sad that we can't trust him. I want to. But every time I had given him the benefit of the doubt, bam! He fucks up. Things have been okay for some time now, maybe 5 months? He has a girlfriend that we have strict rules about, he is learning to drive, and he has a job. But until he is on his own, I think we will never be fully ready to trust him with technology in our home. And then the other two will start reaching the age of hell.

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    1. It is a constant struggle... I feel ya.

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  26. Hey lady - random person that has never read your blog before. Stay scared and stay on point with your girls. Your scaredshitlessness is good. If it goes away you get dull, let things slide, and then it all goes to shit. I was chatting with a lady the other day about drugs and the things that will be available to our kids. It was scary to hear that (she worked for the Dept of Health and Human Services) Xanax, Percocet are already being manufactured in BATHTUBS?! Yes predators are scary, and shitty decision making from 12, 14 , year old brains....not helping. I know I have days coming like the one your wrote this rant from. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. Keep sharing your stuff, I don't know who you are but I'm hugging you. I'm getting one of those bubbles, like in the Travolta movie. I will. Dare me.

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    1. Hugging you right back! OMG...drugs and booze are downright terrifying

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  27. We bought monitoring software, and first I just watched and read what they shared with others, once they went to bed. Then after I had about a weeks worth of "evidence" we had the dreaded "meeting" and they basically lost all technology access for a month...and I mean all...I did not even let them use a watch. The kids thought they were Amish by the end of the month. Now I've got monitoring software set up so they can't access just about anything but what we allow. Meaning the kids have to request access to a site and we have to approve it before they can visit it. It's a pain in the butt, but just about every device sold has parental controls. And the phone won't happen until they turn 18...one bad experience with that ruined it for all of them. But those are the breaks...

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  28. Hey, no joke. My boyfriend's kids used to come over here and we had the computer right there in the family room. His son was eight years old, a straight-A student and in the gifted program at school. I started getting suspicious when he was clicking to a different screen every time I got up and crossed the room. Then I checked the browsing history. The little shit was surfing porn. It started with him doing internet searches on "boobs" and progressed from there. I hadn't put any parental controls on, because I thought he was too young to need them. Wrong! Folks, take it seriously. Do NOT underestimate your kid. He was a really responsible, really well-behaved 3rd-grader. And actually, it seemed funny at first that he wanted to see boobs, until we realized what else he was seeing, and then it was really horrifying. Parental controls went on very quickly.

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    1. It's parental controls on the computer and looking through all other forms of access. Rough stuff, indeed.

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  29. Reblogged and tweeted. I never bought that "my room" stuff. I remember some of the stuff I did.

    Well-written important reminder for all parents. Thanks.

    Note: No matter whose account you are on or what you search for, sooner or later, if you are on Tumblr, there are links to porn.

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    1. Thank you so much! It's so true....and anything you put out there, stays there.

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  30. We're parents - we're not their friends, confidantes or buddies. PARENTS. We need to keep them safe. The world is so much different than before 'online.' It scares the crap out of me what can happen online. I live in Canada and Amanda Todd, a 15 year old girl, recently killed herself over cyber bullying. I've talked with my own 12 year old daughter about it and before she goes online I tell her "Don't show your boobs. Don't type anything you wouldn't want your granparents to hear you say." We are teetering on the monitoring of histories... the recording of conversations... It's not policing your kids - it's PARENTING.

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    1. I agree Heather. I'll be your "friend" when I am half dead and you are spoon feeding me. xo

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  31. My kids are 7, 4 and 2. I see my 7 yr old being a big "problem" in the very near future. He scares me in that he's a total sheep. I can tell you with 99% accuracy who he hung out with at school that day within 2 min. of him getting off the bus. So far, there's only been one kid that I haven't liked. I don't want this to sound like "MY child is perfect. It's your kid what's making him do all these bad things". I just foresee him doing pretty much whatever his friends are doing. I don't mess around. I've already brought up drinking, drugs and not doing what everyone else does just because everyone else is doing it. I don't want to be my child's friend but I do want them to understand where I'm coming from. I did (almost) all of it when I was younger. Drinking....A LOT! Smoking....a little of this, a little of that. Sneaking out was no stranger to me. I don't want my kids doing that shit! I'm sure they will though. I just hope that at that point we have taught them to do it somewhat responsibly. I hope to have a much better and more open relationship with my children than I had with my mother though too. She was a bitch. She only thought of herself and still does. Yes, I was drinking and being an asshole teenager but she was at the bar and dragging home whatever limp dick piece o' shit bought her the most drinks that night. I have no respect for the woman. None. Zip. I swore to NEVER be like that with my children. So far, so good. Since our oldest has been born, I think I've been in a bar about 5 times. Just don't care about it anymore. Pretty good considering that I practically lived there during college! Had my own bar stool even!! Now that's something to fucking brag about right there I tell you what!!
    Thank you for posting this! With the internet, it's going to be a whole new ball game for us with the kids. I never snuck (sp?) around on the internet when I was younger. Mostly because I was already close to 20 before I was ever really introduced to it. Man that was a looooonnnnng time ago!

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  32. Thank you for being the type of parent that we need more of, the type my husband and I are trying to be, the type our children need! Our children were brought into this world on purpose, and we're attentive parents that love our babies fiercely! Nothing irritates me more than lazy parents! The type of parents that have convinced themselves that the easier way is the best for their children, and that they're too busy/lazy to actively parent. Children need boundaries, they NEED us to be present enough in their lives to teach them right from wrong, every single chance we can! Being a parent isn't a popularity contest, you don't do things that will get 'likes' on Facebook, you do them because your children need you to, because it's what's right or best for them! Too many parents these days don't hardly deserve the title, as the teachers and caregivers give their children more guidance they ever will! I applaud you for being so raw, sharing so much of YOU, to all of us whom you've never met, and likely never will! I'd like to think it has to do with the Chicago roots we share, but I really to relate to you and your personality a whole lot! Thank you for being you, and for not caring about what others think of you, but doing what you feel is right, no matter what! You're kind of awesome, but you know this, and your girls are lucky to have you! ;*)

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  33. Excellent post! Should be required reading for every parent with internet access in their home or who allow their child to visit a home with internet access.

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