She had a strong pitch. It appealed to my softer side.
"Mom, have you heard of google+?"
"Yes, but I don't understand how it works."
"A few of the kids in my class and on my basketball team chat on it."
"Oh. That's cool."
"Um, did you want to ask me something?"
"A couple of the girls asked me if I can join. You know, so we can chat?"
Up until now, there has been no Facebook. No Instagram. And no Twitter. I've not allowed any social media. I don't even understand how Google+ works!
(Does anyone really know how Google+ works?)
This year has been so positive for my middle-schooler. The move from a larger school to one where her entire 8th grade class consists of about 18 kids, has been a huge confidence builder. The entire middle school, 6th-8th, mix and hang together. Just last week I enjoyed watching them engage in a very spirited White Elephant gift exchange - all of them circling the gym with a pile of wrapped presents in the center. The community we've been wanting for her has been found, both in the classroom, and with her team on the basketball court.
So, I wasn't surprised by her request. I WAS surprised about the platform.
We made an agreement. As long as I have her google password, and can access her page (if that's what it's even called), she may "hangout". She may only add people from school. My snooping thus far, has revealed photos of all the Graeter's ice cream her grandparents brought in from Cincinnati, cupcakes she baked, and a hilarious joke from a friend concerning the current state of health for all the Webkinz that have "died" due to neglect.
Am I nervous about loosening the grip?
Middle-schoolers aren't the best verbal communicators in the world, so I struggle with this mode of interaction. Will something someone writes be misunderstood? Will feelings be hurt? We as adults screw up on social media all the time. I'm just hoping her google+ experience doesn't go farther than movie posters, funny memes, and the "I am watching TV" updates.
And then there's the amount of time she's "hanging out". We've got a self-admitted iPad addict here - her words. I'm in agreement. We will have to be very careful about overuse.
So, yes, I have concerns.
I'm also quite fond of her new friends.
Thus, we're in.
And while I can't physically be with her all the time, Mama's got game on social media. I'm watching.
Are your kids on any social media sites? Which ones? Do you have access to their pages?
Joline Pinto Atkins, an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage, can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and Beaver County Times online as the Health and Wellness blogger. She is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 13 and 9, who are both named after authors. Passionate about fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising at home, longs for good books, is a redeemed coffee addict, will never get enough of the Gilmore Girls, and won't share popcorn with anyone. Even her own family. Follow Joline on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!