Ladies and gentlemen, we have entered a new realm. An era where we as parents don't have to just worry about what our kids say and do when they are at school or friends' houses.... oh no. Now they have access to other wee ones 24/7. They have cell phones and Facebook and all sorts of techie mediums they can use to spread their kidiocy throughout the universe whenever they want and we, the parents, cannot keep up. We are losing the battle for our kids to the machines. Insert Terminator reference here.
Here is the situation we encountered this weekend. Tabbi spent the night at a friend's house and apparently she, her friend and another guest decided to spend their free time harassing some boy via text messages. Now, I am not going to lie... I distinctly remember a sleepover in someone's basement where many a prank call was dialed to many a boy from our school. I also distinctly remember being the speaker for most calls because I am a killer liar (sorry, Mom) and can do so without laughing. But, the difference between then and now is that you could really only prank the same dude two times before his 'rents got involved and we were toast. In this case, the boy Tabbi targeted received 67 texts in a 2 hour period of time. Gone are the days of just saying "Is your refrigerator running" and here are the days of 12 texts of "asjdkjadjkkj" in a row.
To make things worse, I later found out that the other two girls involved have told their parents that Tabbi knows this boy two years her senior, from another school district and she has been texting pictures of herself. Upon hearing this news, my head exploded. The end.
Ok, my head is still intact, and amazingly so is Tabbi. Turns out that the part of the story that made me the most upset isn't true. They came across this boy because he initially texted Tabbi on accident. It was a wrong number. He had no idea who she was and most importantly she never sent him photos. She wanted to seem older and cooler to her friends so she made a "they'll think I'm cool" story into a "Lynn Nightmare!!!"
All of this has been resolved and Tabbi has learned a really hard lesson on what type of behavior is ok on a cell phone. She has lost her phone/Facebook for a week and knows very clearly that if this happens again she loses both for good. But, punishments do not really fix the problem. Tabbi is 11 years old and fighting all the same demons that I fought 20 years ago when I was her age. She wants to fit in, she wants to feel good about herself and she wants to be accepted. But... she has all these tools to make the lack of these things scream so much louder than before. At least in my day, you went home and unless you received a phone call, the lamb stopped screaming til the next day at school. I remember a note from friends that temporarily ended my world in 7th grade.... but the issue was only between us. I see similar messages come across Facebook pages daily and instead of a private fight, it goes viral. This world is a new frontier for kids and parents, and I for one am scared. Scared for her, scared for us as parents... and most of all... scared that the Amish community I am planning to join to avoid all of this won't have us.