I consider myself pretty well versed in all things social. I started this blog before blogging was blogging and I think I was #3 to jump on the Instagram bandwagon. My early instagrams were all hipstamatic photos. Yep. Hipstamatic. The lost (thank God) filter. And twitter? Don't get me started on Twitter. I practically invented it. Ha! Just kidding. I did, in fact, teach Michael Symon how to tweet. And boy look at him tweet! Over 565,000 followers in a few short years. LIKE WHOA.
So yeah, me and the social media go way way back. And for the most part I still love it. However as the minis get older my focus on social media turns from selfies & business promotion to how my kids will interact with social media and the internet. We are still a device free household with our kids and don't have any plans to get them phones. But even though they don't have phones they know what's happening on the internets. Kids in their classes have phones (not kidding, half of the 5th grade class has a phone) and information spreads like wildfire in school. So when my friend Pauline told me I had to go to Jesse Weinberger's talk on internet safety I decided to check it out hoping to gain some insight on "what the kids are up to these days."
Jesse's talk started out with a bang. She spoke of popularity and how now with the help of social media and the internet your popularity can be ranked and measured by your followers and likes. Back in our day popularity just kind of happened. Not so anymore. There is a ranking system in high school and it's called INSTAGRAM. I had never thought of it that way because I don't really give a shit if people like my photos on instagram but the kids do. And the likes, the like, they really matter.
For the next three hours Jesse spoke of apps I had never heard of like Omegle (your kid talks to strangers in a 1 mile radius from where they are WTF) and another app that records kids as they sleep and pedos (that's what kids call pedophiles when they talk about this app) pay a fee to do so. So the kid puts their phone next to the bed, goes to sleep, and the next morning has $50 in his/her bank account. Ewwww, fuck people, ewww. Jesse's talk opened my eyes on so many levels. The most interesting aspect of her talk was the data she collects from the school she speaks at. She meets with students and they tell her everything they do on the internet. They tell her about their porn habits (high school kids watch ALOT of porn), they tell her about sexting, apps, how much time they spend on the internet, bullying, everything. It's pretty mind blowing when you see the data for grades 4-12 right in front of your face. The world has changed and our kids are being exposed to so much at such an early age.
Her talk was really life changing for me. While I still use and love social media, I now know that I honestly don't have a clue. And if my kids are gonna make it through this crazy age of social media, as a parent I really need to have clue.
Jesse speaks all over the country to schools, parents, businesses, and kids. I highly recommend checking her out. And if you are in Cleveland tomorrow, you can catch her talk in Chagrin Falls at the Chagrin Falls Schools Performing Arts Center from 7pm-9pm.. It's free but no kids allowed. And if you can't make one of her talks check out her book The Boogeyman Exists and follow her page on Facebook.
Knowledge is power parents. Get it. Or don't. Maybe your kids looking at porn on Pinterest (YES PINTEREST) doesn't bother you but it sure as hell bothers me.
And Pinterest, come on. Where did you go wrong?