This I wasn’t ready for.
Email. Texting. Internet. That is for TEENAGERS.
And then I had a daughter turn 10 and the curiosity about email began. Ok, so it wasn’t curiosity, it was begging. Begging for an email account.
I began to let her use my email account to talk to her friends. And that turned into a major annoyance REAL. FAST.
So I had to stop and think.
WHY didn’t I want to let her have email?
Two words: Internet Access.
It wasn’t the email that was the problem, but the internet access that comes with computer use. Could we take some time to set something up that would work for both of us?
I left that challenge to my husband who began to rework the family computer, which is kept in the main room of the house. Eric set K (age 10) up with her own profile that was not allowed any access to the internet unless a parent typed in a password that let her access a certain page.
We allowed access to gmail and helped her select an email address. The main rule was that it could not contain personal information such as her name or birth year. After a few nights of brainstorming, she was set with her name and her password and her new gmail account.
The emailing began. A handful of friends. Grandparents. Cousins.
And it was good.
Until there were more considerations to make.
It started with the use of my phone for texting. I started letting her text my sister…which confused my sister when she didn’t sign the texts with her name.
Once again, this got ANNOYING very quickly. And we needed a solution. I didn’t want it to include her own phone and she wanted it to include a way to text message.
Her solution included an iProduct that she wanted to buy with her own money. In order to entertain this possibility, we went to the Apple store to ask if there was a way to password protect the internet access on an iTouch or iPod, but there wasn’t.
We decided to download a free texting app on MY iPad. I don’t use the app, so the phone number doesn’t have to be shared. But since it is my iPad, there is no illusion of privacy.
And we very quickly made a rule that any internet accessible device could NOT leave the main floor of the house!
Satisfied, we both were able to live with the new set up.
The texting died off fairly quickly as there aren’t many 10 year olds who text, but the email has become a daily activity and I have to admit, it has been a good thing. She keeps in touch with a good friend who moved away, writes her grandparents and family, and writes with other friends.
I continue to make sure her life remains balanced with IN person relationships and even a snail mail pen-pal. I certainly don’t want the email and texting to replace the development of face-to-face socialization! But I don’t really see that as a problem at all.
It was a good learning experience for both of us as we worked to find a solution that we both could live with.
I have a feeling it won’t be the last time we have to confront changes that mommy wasn’t quite ready for…