8yr old with iPod touch experiencing anxiety in relation to messages/Facetime with friends - advice please!(23 Posts)
I'm at my wits end. My 8 yr old has an iPod touch, as does his main group of friends, and they use them to message and Facetime each other after school (and sometimes before) within moderation.
We recently went abroad so he didn't have internet access and on return all the messages arrived that were part of a series of group messages between his friends. He immediately became paranoid that 1) they were talking about him (they weren't) and (2) they were all at a sleepover together without him being included (which they weren't). I can't believe how this has turned into a source of anxiety when it was originally just a fun way to keep in touch. On bad behaviour it is confiscated for a period of time, but now he gets really anxious about that too as he thinks everyone will be having conversations without (and possibly about) him. So all in all we have peer pressure and paranoia issues and I'm trying to work out the best way forward without him losing confidence. Do I get the other mums involved at this point to discuss boundaries - none of the boys are really doing anything wrong asides from usual 8 yr old banter, it's just the resulting peer pressure that concerns me...
He is not old enough to have one that is why this is happening.
what she said.
He's 8. He doesn't need an iPod touch.
I hate seeing little children with adult (or at the very least) teenage technology. What have they got to look forward to it work towards as they get older? Nothing if they get everything handed to them so early. He's not mature enough to use it appropriately, as his behavior clearly shows. Take it away til he's older.
Take it off him then.
He can't be involved in all that nonsense if he's not emotionally mature enough to deal with it. Which he obviously isn't.
Get him some Lego instead.
Oh and "Do I get the other mums involved at this point to discuss boundaries..." Erm, no!
Yes, Lego is also a passion but technology is great to embrace too. I have put parental restrictions on everything except age appropriate games and as I said many of his peer group have these, so technology and kids are progressively a part of life. I have switched off the message function in the past, however he has a responsible attitude and I have always monitored the content. I was looking for constructive advice in a modern age - I appreciate where you're coming from but I am also interested in anyone elses similar experiences. Thanks for taking the time to share your views.
I'm all for embracing technology but 8yo is too young (in most cases and obvously your DS's) for this kind of online interaction.
Isn't that apparent if he's getting himself in such a state over if?
At 8 his social and communication skills are not developed enough to understand text speak. He will find it hard with no tone of voice, no facial expression or body language to read also.
Kids take pointers from these and it confuses them when they aren't there.
Take it off of him and give it back when he is 10 and has the ability to use it without it upsetting him or stalling the development of his communication skills.
8 is far too young to have access to any kind of instant messaging facility.
Disable the facility.
His anxiousness is proof that he does not have the emotional inteligence [due to be so young] to deal with this.
Oops lol sorry....
There's nothing wrong with embracing the modern age. However it's best to match those experiences with the maturity of the child in question. He's anxious and paranoid. The best way to deal with that is remove the causes. An anxious and paranoid child is clear evidence that he is not ready to deal with the scenarios created in using the iPod. If you choose to allow him to continue using it, I think it's basically allowing that paranoia and anxiety to grow rather than waiting until he's older/maturer and able to understand the concept of conversations etc happening about him and/or without him. Oh and extreme anxiousness to see what's going on/what he's missing is a sign of addiction to IMO.
He needs a break from messaging.
I had to do the same with dd who was getting too invested in the group chats. Someone on here suggested stopping messaging after I moaned about the drama and I reluctantly tried but it's been the right decision.
She's older (10) than your so. and the break has done her good. She now has a FaceTime after school and maybe 20minutes or so messaging before bed. That's plenty to stay in the loop.
Don't get the other mums involved. I wouldn't welcome someone telling me how much messaging my child should be doing.
Yes, thanks all, I agree re. communication skills, it's difficult as an adult to judge expression sometimes behind texts... I am going to have a chat with him and deactivate these functions. I really appreciate all your constructive views, thanks.
Embracing the modern age is good but it sounds like your son is addicted to it in an unhealthy way. (If this was an adult then Id compare it to drug withdrawal)
8 year old DCs are going to get in a total tiz about what their friends are saying behind their backs regardless of the method.
Just tell him not to be so daft, they could be ringing, texting, talking in the dinner queue and he wouldn't be bothered. It's just they forget everyone sees some types of message if they use twitter or group lists.
8 isn't especially young to have an iPod, DD2 has had a lap top longer and an iPod since 9.
I think, when they're 8, a more age appropriate embracing technology thing to do would be have a family computer in a public space in the home-then they can skype their friends, but are aware you're there in the background. Or let them do it on your phone whilst you're there.
Technology is fab, but laptops and handheld stuff are hard to monitor and 8 yrolds still need a lot of monitoring imvho because they're still working out how to handle stuff like teasing.
Sorry all his friends have one? Thought you had to be 12 for fb?
Anyway, i digress...I think shutting the stable door is now silly and not an option and not helpful to the OP. So, I think you set times he can fb and only in your presence on a laptop. Wean him off the gadget. It's going to take some work so consistency will be key between you/partner and over a good few weeks.
Does dh have an opinion? Does your boys teacher? I think they should know to to help in school hours that he's then not open to bullying etc.
I think the only problem with these devices at his age is the exponential aspect...we all used to write notes, form clubs, play with and without various friends. People got paranoid and upset.
However this sort of technology tends to run away with people. You send a silly message and before you know it you've sent it to five other friends by mistake or they have shared it etc
it is the same thing, and NOT as such the main issue here with your lovely ds - his fears need addressing, not just the ipod tinkered with.
However it is exascerbated I think and multiplied and magnified, with quick technology. adults get themselves into a right stink over facebook, etc - I know facetime is a different thing entirely but still, you can see how technology makes things more difficult and skilled to handle than an old fashioned pen and paper.
Fwiw ds1 is just 10 and he has a tablet (just) but he does not do instant messaging. He is not old enough to handle it.
Wish - Facetime is an apple messaging app
Yes, my 8 year old twins and a friend had a row about the secret notes in their clubhouse the other day, can't imagine if all their friends from school had got involved !
My DD had an ipod Touch at 8.
She didn't have access to Facetime etc. She wasn't mature enough for it.
Do this group of friends even know about concepts such as cyber bullying? I would stop his access to things such as facetime until he is old enough to deal with it, I would also mention to other mothers what you are doing. I would also mention it to school and ask them to keep an eye in case there is any real life bullying which is making your son anxious.
My DD is 10 and keeps nagging me for an email account, I don't let her have one because it would have to be fully monitored by me and she is really too young to need one.
Lots of valuable viewpoints and advice here, thanks. Yes it's really the instant messaging that has caused the problem, FaceTime (not Facebook) which is like Skype, is not such a problem, more of a nuisance! DH very supportive and like me, monitoring this, but we both agree that DS's maturity is not quite there yet. In terms of bullying, thankfully not something that is a problem but we openly discuss these issues with DS and what can happen, as does the school. Friendships and peer pressure are a big concern anyway for 8 yr olds I'm quickly realising, and fitting in whilst remaining an individual must be so tough faced with today's lifestyle and we need to guide DS through this starting with reigning in the messaging. FaceTime is easier to monitor so will agree on some set times. Hopefully by the time my DD (5 yrs) gets to this age we will be much more clued up!! Thanks all :-)
I do think children need "time off" from social life, a bit like the way sleep helps us condolidate what we know and to rest.
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