I honestly have no idea how this blog post is going to turn out. I'm completely winging it. I sat down to do what I do - and the title just popped in to my head. It doesn't matter that I really haven't thought through what can go with the title... but I like the sound of it... so here we go.
Isn't it amazing how much you can do with technology nowadays? I just downloaded the new OS 6 (Operating System for those that don't speak "Computer") for my iPad and I now have Siri (voice recognition software) to help me do whatever it is I need to do. Like, for example, I can ask Siri to post a status to Facebook...tell her what I want to say.. and BAM! My new Facebook status is posted. No more having to type on the touch screen keyboard for me! And that goes for anything I want to do - like search my apps, run a search on the internet, use Mapquest, write an email... the list goes on and on for what I no longer have to type in to my iPad, but I can now just ask for.
I wonder how long it will be before learning to type will be as obsolete as using a typewriter? Why type it when you can just say it?
And this makes me say "hmmm" for more than one reason. Yes, it's cool. But, I can type pretty fast. Like really fast. It takes practically no time at all for me to pound a few keys and write a page worth of stuff. Has our society really got to the point where typing is too hard to do?
Then there is writing. A skill that is imperative to my students. Just as much as reading is. Yet, in a time that our voices can now do all of the work - how long will it be where writing will no longer be a skill that is needed?
I'm not innocent in all of this. I ditched my written journals a couple of years ago for the blogging world. I decided it was much easier to type my thoughts on to a computer than it was to write them down in a notebook. Easier to keep track of, easier to do, easier to read.
I also stay on top of the latest and greatest technology. I own an iPad 3. I own an iPhone 4S. I have a laptop, a flat screen TV, PS3. I'm not bragging - it's just my "thing" to be involved with the latest technology that comes out. I also know my way around a computer pretty well to fix any minor issues that people have. I felt it was necessary to teach myself how to use and take care of these things as society evolves towards technology being the basis for everything.
Even my new car is involved with the new voice stuff. I no longer have to touch my phone while driving - not like I did anyways...that's very, very dangerous! But, my phone now links up with my car so that if I need to call someone, or if someone calls me, it comes through my speakers. I just push a button on my steering wheel, say "Call [insert name]" and the car calls that person for me.
OK - so that thing that makes me say "hmmmm" went on a lot longer than I had planned.
Let's talk raising kids. I'm a teacher. I'm also a mother. Yet, I in no way believe I'm an expert in raising kids. And, I really can't think that anyone can make that claim - no matter how many studies or books are written. Why? Because each child is different. Each child has their own unique qualities and situations.
But, at the end of the day, there are several things that come from the way a child is parented.
I personally think that it's mandatory that in this day and age, parents are nosier. They have to be involved, know what's going on, stop the wool from being pulled over their eyes.
Many parents seem to have forgotten the roles that are supposed to be played. Kids are not friends, they are our responsibility. Their behavior, actions, safety are all reflections on how we parent them. Of course, there are times when kids just sway off to uncharted territory - no matter how much we try - but at the end of the day, just being there, being involved, and being a parent is what is important.
If you're a parent that is OK with your children having Facebook accounts, cell phones, computers, etc., then it's imperative that you monitor that activity that's taking place on those things. It's not an invasion of privacy - it's a parental duty. They either like it or don't have it. Simple.
If anything, my constant monitoring of my kids' social activities has bonded us even closer. Peanut has Facebook and a cell phone. She knows I'm going to snoop and monitor. She's totally OK with it - not that she has a choice. And it's gotten to the point that she now shares much more with me about her life, her friends, and how she's feeling. She recently got a new boyfriend, and rather than being shy or secretive about their interactions - she comes to me and tells me what they're talking about. She asks for my advice. We talk and share and are closer now than we've ever been.
She even comes to me and makes sure she can delete messages from her inbox. She knows the rules! Gotta love her for that.
And I'm sure that there are people reading this thinking "I'd never be OK with my 12 year old daughter having a boyfriend or talking to her about it or snooping around to monitor her activity". But, I truly believe that my attitude and straightforwardness in the activity has led to what I'm about to say.
She's also witnessed actions of others that she doesn't approve of. She's taken people off of her Facebook that act in a way she doesn't approve of. All on her own. And she talks to me about those situations, too. I sit and watch as certain children claim to be little angels, when their Facebook activity speaks in volumes otherwise. She feels comfortable coming to me with questions. She tells me about internal struggles she's having. I'm involved with her life because she knows she can either talk to me about it - or I find out about it in my own way. I'd much rather have the child that comes to me than the child that waits for me to find out.
I am SOOOO thankful that my daughter is so ahead of her years, is able to see through the veils of deceit, and takes herself away from people she doesn't approve of.
And I'm left saying "hmmmm". How much did I have to do with those decisions and choices?
Those choices aren't easy for a twelve year old to make. One situation has effected her immensely. Someone she was very close to started acting inappropriately with their Facebook page and cell phone. Peanut was "in on it" because that person spoke to her about things that were going on behind the parent's back. Peanut just couldn't deal with it - and took herself away from it. And even after the parents of the girl found out about it - nothing much was really done. The girl claimed to change.. make things right... stop the inappropriate activity. But, Peanut and I have both witnessed how that's played out. The girl is just much more careful in covering her tracks, now.
Just yesterday, I saw the exact same activity on the Facebook page - but it's now gone. Deleted. Quickly covering her tracks now that she knows she's being spied on.
I just thank all things holy that - as of right now - I don't have to worry about stuff like that. And I'm pretty certain that if I continue the lines of communication that Peanut and I have created for each other - I won't ever have to worry about that.
And those are the things that have made me say "hmmm" today.