Thursday, January 31, 2013

You're killin' me, Smalls...

We are proud parents of a 36 year old teenage girl. Ok. Actually, she is a pre-teen. She is 12. She thinks she is 36 though.

   She more than likely thinks this because she was forced to grow up and act like a mother to her little brother, and really, a support to her father when she was just 7 years old. They are best friends, her father and her. There is nothing wrong with that and I am glad they trust each other and have the bond they do. However, when you talk to your kid like she is 36, let her hang around you and your friends (by the way, I mean a collective "you", as in, I am just as guilty of this as her dad), and give her more responsibilities than most 12 year olds have, it's no wonder she thinks she is 36 and grown and can make her own decisions on what is best for her. Even if we have said otherwise.

   C wants a facebook. She has wanted one since she was 10 however, in the last year or so the desire is really strong. She can't tell you exactly why she wants one, but she wants one. For awhile there, the begging and the pleading and the tears were almost a daily thing. Bee actually doesn't really care. If I weren't around, she probably would have had one ages ago but I am the one with the issue. He sees my points on why she should not have one (She isn't even old enough. The Internet got me (and him. Not together, of course)  in tons of trouble both known and unknown to my parents, it allows you to be sneaky and do things in your own home that you used to have to sneak out far from your parents to do. It is nothing but drama and bullying and inapproiate-ness from kids her age. She already has had her childhood taken from her because of her mother. I will not allow the Internet and stupid mean girls to further take it away. She has no idea how to police her site to make it safe-er from pervs and weirdos. Bee says he would have her password and log in daily and whatnot, but I see how well he followed through on that with her older in...he didn't), and so while we argue on weather she can have one or not, he supports my stance and doesn't allow her to have one in the meantime.

   C turned 12 this year and in 8 months she will be 13. The legal age in which she could have one. I knew I would lose the battle by her birthday. I was slowly coming to grips with it and actually felt that maybe, just maybe, she could handle having one. I was going to police it, so I was confident that nothing too horrible would happen. I still didn't like the idea, but I figured there is only so long that you can force them and deny them things that all of their friends are doing/having before they become the "weird" kid. It also made me think of how my parents were convinced that by merely having the Internet hooked up at our house, people would steal their banking info, their identity, and that  I would be kidnapped and end up in a child sex-slave ring. I remember rolling my eyes and trying to convince them that while it had not been that long since they were kids, the world had changed. Advanced. What was scary to them, was only normal, every day life advancements to the rest of the world. And so, I prepared myself.

   C had not brought up the whole facebook thing in awhile. Bee and I chalked it up to the fact that she knew wasn't going to win. Mainly, because to get her to stop the incessant asking and crying, Bee detailed a 23 point plan she had to follow to the "letter" and then, and only then would he consider discussing it. (The Plan included things like she had to clean her room so clean that it could pass a military inspection AND keep it that way, not even a piece of paper was allowed on the floor, for 30 days) She half followed the plan for about 2 days. We took her silence as admitting defeat. Also, with school starting, she had football, and then basketball season came and she was doing Civil Air Patrol as well and there was really no time. She was so tired, most nights she went upstairs to bed by 7:30-8:00 pm. I almost looked forward to rewarding her/surprising her with one when she was 13 (or maybe 13 and a half..).

   Last night she sat down at the old laptop of Bee's that serves as her and Little Man's gateway to the intertubes. She needed to log on to her Civil Air Patrol site and take her test to get her rank promotion. For whatever reason (the computer is super old), it wouldn't bring up the website. It kept telling her that the cookies needed to be turned off. Bee was trying to help her, but only getting frustrated so, when I walked by she gladly jumped up and asked for my help. I sat down and was trying to get to the screen where you can turn cookies on/off, when I came upon the browsing history. Lo and behold, 3/4 of the list was facebook.

   I didn't say a word, or freak out right away. C has fully admitted to checking out her friend's facebook pages who's parents didn't make them go private. Also, she has had a few friends over not that long ago and any one of them could have logged onto facebook from the computer. After a closer look, I saw they were actually facebook messages. They were from people I recognized as her friends. So, I asked why they were there. If she had said "Oh, Alicia was over. They might be hers" I probably would have believed her. Not that I encourage lying. Actually, that is just how much I (and her dad) trusted her. However, she fessed up instead. Which, is better. She is still in more trouble than I think she will ever realize, but it would have been that much more harder for her when I found out she was lying. Because then, I would have searched her to double check. I would have found her too, because she used her real name, real picture, real location info and everything. And it was public. Anyone could find her both on the Internet and most likely physically too within 5 seconds of typing her name.

  We went through her facebook messages, which some were conversations held between 9 pm-2 am. Which, since she goes to "bed" so early could have been easily done with her DSI safely tucked away in her room,  her friends (all 117 of them!!), her posts, and her pictures. Bee changed everything to private and locked her out of her own facebook. We stressed how dangerous it was, how she obviously doesn't have the maturity to have one yet, and how disappointed we were she went behind our backs and acted so sneaky. She will not she the Internet or at the very least, her facebook for a very long time. Bee said, she might be 15 and still not have one. She is also grounded and on a very short leash right now. So much so, Bee is getting a babysitter whenever we leave and don't take the kids with us.

Sigh...Kids...The next big fight (although, I am sure after this it will be awhile. She'll want to let this situation cool off first) will be the cell phone. And, if I have my way? She will be driving before she has a phone.

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