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My son has been using social media and group chat inappropriately

My son has been using social media and group chat inappropriately

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Casual scribe
Sunglasses

My son has been using social media and group chat inappropriately

I've just found out that my almost 13 year old son has been sending quite rude and offensive comments in a group chat. He isn't bullying anyone as such but he is engaging with the chat in a way that is not ok, including sharing a picture of some celebrity butt and making overtly sexual comments and being over the top rude with sexual comments and bad language that don't seem at all consistent with the tone of the rest of the group chat.  This was brought to my attention by another concerned parent and I've been asked to have my son remove himself from the group chat which I will absolutely do.  I'm sitting awake trying to figure out how to handle this when he wakes up. I've been on the esafety website and raisingchildren.net but there is so much info its a bit overwhelming and also related to protecting children from others online (ie blocking) but what do I do when my child is the problem???? He also has quite severe anxiety and alot of his communication and sense of connection comes from online communication so I don't want to take this away from him completely.  My questions are:

* How do I monitor my son's phone and internet interactions? (He has his own phone)

* How much monitoring is too much monitoring? (I know teenagers deserve some privacy and opportunity to connect with their peers and figure some of this stuff out themselves)

* What would you do??? Consequences etc.  (His 13th birthday is in 2 weeks and he was going to be getting a new tv, phone and xbox upgrade)

Active scribe
kidfitmindset

Re: My son has been using social media and group chat inappropriately

Hello @Sunglasses 

 

Hopefully I can help in some way! I've been teaching for 10 years! I can't imagine the stresses that come with raising kids in a Digital World but I'd love to help you in any way I can. 

 

*How do I monitor my son's phone and internet interactions?

(He has his own phone)

I would suggest having a room where he can go on his phone. A living room or in the kitchen. Most of social media misbehavior occurs when the child is on their own (bedroom especially). If he questions why- tell him that you want to be there if he needs you for anything. Try and put a positive spin on it!

 

* How much monitoring is too much monitoring? (I know teenagers deserve some privacy and opportunity to connect with their peers and figure some of this stuff out themselves)

I think that if you follow through with the above, the monitoring will seem less invasive, you can watch his facial expressions to see what is going on. If you pay his phone bill- you have a right to check his phone. Most apps require kids to be over 16 so you should be also able to approve the downloading of apps if he uses your account.

 

* What would you do??? Consequences etc.  (His 13th birthday is in 2 weeks and he was going to be getting a new tv, phone and xbox upgrade)

 I think one gift is absolutely enough. He should have to write an apology text/letter to whoever he offended in the group chat and admit he was wrong. Accountability is so important here so that he remembers what he did wrong and it prevents future occurrences. Inform him that all his activity stays on the internet forever and he may be haunted by it in later life (sounds dramatic but it is true). Remind him that nobody is perfect all the time but we do not want to have documented evidence of when he is not behaving like his best self

Casual scribe
Sunglasses

Re: My son has been using social media and group chat inappropriately

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. We've had a talk this morning and he's shown me through the chats and has removed himself from all group chats. He doesn't have his phone today and I told him we would talk more after school about what needs to change moving forward.

Community Manager
Philippa-RO

Re: My son has been using social media and group chat inappropriately

Hi @Sunglasses and welcome to the forums.

Thank you for sharing what's happened with us - that must have been really worrying. 

It sounds like you've approached this in a really calm and direct manner by talking it through with your son - was he able to tell you why he was posting those things in the chats?
I'm wondering if understanding the reasons behind the behaviour might help with preventing it from happening again.

In terms of monitoring and safety for his mobile phone - do you have any safety software on your son's phone? There are many different types - I know a lot of people find it good because it can help with things like filtering explicit or dangerous content as well.

 

Re: consequences, I often find with my young people that they're most effective if they align with whatever it was that happened. For example, I imagine your son is probably feeling quite a bit of embarrassment over being 'found out' - is that right? If so, that's a really effective natural consequence in itself because it's his own motivation not to do it again.

In terms of other consequences, some examples of linked (or logical) consequences might include things like you not trusting him to have as much freedom with his phone, or you deciding to monitor his phone use more closely. These would be consequences that are directly related to what happened, and these types of consequences can be easier for young people to learn from than unrelated consequences. 

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