Sex, Drugs, Social Media and What I Failed to Tell My Kids

My parents are conservative Irish Catholics that never brought up the tough conversations about sex and drugs – though I imagine it would have gone something like: “You’re never to use drugs, and you can have sex when you’re married…”  Conversation complete.   The author of this article argues that a third conversation of equal importance must be had with your child – responsible usage of social media.

I don’t have kids of my own but I have 7 nieces and nephews that are tech savvy and can use an iPad more efficiently than me.  They are all great kids – but kids are curious and ask a lot of questions and I’m terrified what they might be looking at on the internet when mom and dad aren’t home.  I’m terrified that at some point in their childhood, some kid is going to test their morality and put them in a position to do permanent damage to their reputation.  The author came up with a solid list that highlights the major talking points that she thinks need to be discussed with a child regarding social media.  Her points are summarized as:

  1. Everything you say or do on social media will reflect on you as a person
  2. Facebook can be a powerful force for hurting feelings
  3. Imagine that all your posts are going to be read by your parents…would you still post them?
  4. The more important something is to say – the more important is shouldn’t be said over a computer
  5. “Sexting” is never, NEVER ok!

It’s hard to convince a child or teenager that their actions might prevent them from getting into college – or prevent them from getting a job someday.   But the truth is that anything posted on the internet will follow them forever. The author points out that the first decade of the 21st century is defined by the birth of social media and reminds us that “The Internet isn’t written in pencil… it’s written in ink.”

My Questions to the class:

How important would you rate the conversation that a parent should have with their kids about social media, when compared to sex and drugs?

Which conversation do you think parents need to have first?

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2 thoughts on “Sex, Drugs, Social Media and What I Failed to Tell My Kids

  1. I think parents have to have the “social media” talk before the sex and drugs talk as kids are online younger and younger these days. Most children have a Facebook account by middle school and a smart phone in elementary school. I agree that many young children do not understand how their text messages and statuses live on. How one text message can be forwarded on to your entire school or one status can be seen by someone you have never met. I fear for the children of the future. Their lives will be so much more public and trackable.
    I would probably rate the importance of the “social media” conversation as a 9 out of 10 with the sex and drugs conversation coming in at a 5 or 6. I really don’t remember my parents having the sex talk with me and when it came to drugs, my dad told me that I didn’t have to worry about cancer killing me because if he found out that I was smoking, he would kill me. And when you think about it, one sexting picture appearing online can hurt you more than having consensual, protected sex in a committed pre-marriage relationship.

  2. The “social media” talk is something that definitely should be taking place first. I have younger cousins who at the age of 7 were allowed to join Facebook. I didn’t agree but my Aunt didn’t seem to think it was all that bad of an idea being that she is friends with them on the site and can easily monitor their pages. The thing is a savvy enough user can figure out how to block people, especially parents, from seeing certain posts even if they are connected.

    As millennials, we were the testers of social media. We dove into the trend head first without thinking twice about posting the keg stand photo. It seems to me that we are the generation that needs to start the “social media” talk with our kids because we are the first who truly experienced both the negatives and positives of social media usage. Both the social media talk and the sex talk are becoming equal in importance. One misstep can have huge ramifications so parents need to understand the importance of both.

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