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To not allow my 11yo dd to use social media

(25 Posts)
Brokenbiscuit Sun 22-Jan-17 22:41:53

This is a genuine AIBU. I really want to know what others think.

DD is 11 and in year 7. The vast majority (but not all) of her friends have social media like Instagram, snapchat and My DSis also allows social media for my nephew, who is the same age. DD is not currently allowed any of these. She does have a smartphone and she is allowed to use WhatsApp.

I have a FB and Twitter account myself but barely use them, and I'm mindful about what I put on there. I don't feel very clued up about social media and I'm aware that the main sites generally have a minimum age of 13. I have always assumed that the age limit is there for a reason, and therefore I haven't really wanted dd to open any social media accounts just yet.

To be fair, she hasn't really been pushing for permission to use social media that much either. A lot of her friends had Instagram in the later years of primary and according to dd, it seemed to spark more arguments than anything else. However, since moving to secondary, I'm aware that it's becoming a bit more of an issue for her that she hasn't got it. Fortunately, two of her closest friends aren't currently allowed to use anything either, which makes it a bit easier, but most of her other friends are on it all the time.

She is very good, and says that she will respect my judgement on the issue, but she has asked me to reconsider my stance. She has also pointed out that I let her watch 12 films even though she isn't yet 12, and she has suggested that the minimum age of 13 could be regarded in a similar light.

Obviously, I don't want to be pressured into allowing her to use social media just because everyone else has it, and she knows that that's an argument that won't sway me anyway. Equally, though, I can see I'm probably out of step with the majority, and I genuinely don't want to be unreasonable. Also, I don't want my own ignorance about social media to get in the way of making a fair and informed decision. Needless to say, I'm also aware that she could go ahead and create an account without my knowledge if she really wanted to. I trust her not to do this - we have a very open relationship and I think she'd be more likely to negotiate than go behind my back. However, if I'm too strict, perhaps I could end up pushing her that way.

I should add that she's very mature for her age and extremely sensible. She's also quite cautious by nature, so I think she'd be careful about what she put on there and ok pretty confident that she wouldn't talk to people she didn't already know etc. I'm also reassured by the fact that she finds the pouty photos that lots of kids post quite ridiculous!

However, I'm still uneasy about the possibility of other less careful friends sharing her information or photos, failing to get the privacy settings right and about all manner of other ill-defined risks that I'm afraid I might not even know about.

Am I being ridiculously over-cautious in not letting her use social media at this age? If I decide to change my position on this, what do I need to be aware of to keep her safe? Are Instagram, Snapchat and equally risky/risk-free? What could feasibly go wrong?

I've promised her that I will think about it. Please help me reach the right conclusion.

DJBaggySmalls Sun 22-Jan-17 22:48:01

Instagram is not risk free. I have an account, and I block children if they try to follow me. I have no interest in following them, they dont post anything I'm interested in and they just want 'follow for follow' which I dont do.

There is still a lot of porn on Instagram, and men who dm women asking for a hook up. It used to be infested with web bots offering fake prostitute accounts, but Instagram have done a lot to clean it up.

What would she do with her accounts? A lot of people use Twitter as a kind of free email/text system. But Instagram is more for photographers and artists.
Maybe you could get her to make fake posts over the next month, just on your pc. It might give you both more of an idea of what she wants to do online.

TheTroubleWithAngels Sun 22-Jan-17 22:48:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Sun 22-Jan-17 22:50:24

I let DS have a Facebook account in year 8 after a period of petitioning based on a private group for the ball boys (he used to be a ball boy for our local league team) - he felt that he was left out of the social side because they all went to different schools and didn't see each other outside the match days. We had an agreement that he would set his account to private and I would be added as a friend, and have his password so i could check up on his activity. I never did check as I trusted him, and only when he turned 15 did he block me (although his password is the same, we all have the same one in our house because it's easier to remember).

If you do decide to let her, I would set up some conditions like access, privacy controls and open discussions about how to keep safe online.

Titsywoo Sun 22-Jan-17 22:51:04

DD is 12 and has instagram and whatsapp but that's it. Whatsapp is fine for free messaging and group chats. She isn't allowed to put pics of herself online so uses instagram for random pics of the dog and stuff. We have something called airdroid so can get into her phone and check what she has been up to. She is aware of this and of course we won't do it forever but while she is starting to use social media we want to keep an eye on things. She is pretty sensible anyway and will end up using it soon enough so I'm not going to ban it.

NaughtyNiffler Sun 22-Jan-17 22:53:50

Yanbu. Most social media has a lower age limit of 13 to register to use it. That limit is there for a reason. My DS will not be using social media until that age, at least... The Web is not safe for children who are not fully prepared for it...

giraffesCantReachTheirToes Sun 22-Jan-17 22:57:16

If you type the word sex into the search on instagram you can instantly get hard-core porn.

I like the privacy settings on it so only your friends can see your pics and lots of teens I know share photography type shots not all selfies. But you can search for and easily find violent and sexual stuff. It does get deleted but as fast as instagram delete it more people post it.

If it wasn't for that then I think it would be a good starter social media type thing.

Brokenbiscuit Sun 22-Jan-17 23:03:30

Thank you for your replies. I think she mainly wants to use Instagram to chat to her friends and share photos - they all tend to take a lot of photos when they're together and then share them on social media afterwards. Not sure about or Snapchat, and I don't know if she is either - I think she is mainly just feeling a bit left out because she hasn't got them.

We would definitely have to agree that she wouldn't follow or accept friend requests from anyone she didn't know, and I would insist on her own profile being private, but I realise there will be other accounts that aren't private and that there might be some dodgy stuff on these. However, that could be said of the internet in general, which she can already access through her phone. Is it likely that she would stumble on porn or similar by accident, our would she have to go looking for it? More worried about the former if I'm honest.

I think she'd be happy to let me follow her if she did have an account. She has already said that she wouldn't put anything on there that she didn't want us to see, because if she wouldn't want us seeing it, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to post it anyway. I know the password to her phone also, and I think she'd be happy for me to monitor what she was doing.

SpringerS Sun 22-Jan-17 23:04:32

How would she react if you suggested that instead of using a computer for social media she instead started to learn about using them as a tool? Is there something like a coderdojo near you that she could join? That way she is being allowed into the 'adult world' of computer usage but in a way that's not just safe but helps her build an increasingly important skillset.

Brokenbiscuit Sun 22-Jan-17 23:14:11

Springer, I think she'd be open to any suggestions, but she does already have access to our home computer and tablet, both of which she uses quite a lot - mainly to mess around with her photos and make random PowerPoint presentations, though she is currently a bit fascinated by Excel!

However, I think it's the social aspect of the social media that is bothering her, as she feels out of step with her friends.

I'm concerned about the very easy access to hard core porn on Instagram. However, I'm aware that she is probably spending loads of time with friends who already have that access on their phones, so I'm not sure that I can totally protect her from that. I think she'd be very unlikely to search it out on her own.

giraffesCantReachTheirToes Sun 22-Jan-17 23:18:31

Jump mag which is an online magazine run by a mner had stuff about social media safety.

BiBi8 Mon 23-Jan-17 07:33:31

There is a large community of pro self harmers and eating disorder communities on Instagram and you can't control searches or block inappropriate stuff. My niece is 11 and has Instagram. She put her school, real age and full name on there for a while until I intervened. I wish parents knew how dangerous the internet really was. I was groomed from around 14 on the internet.

BiBi8 Mon 23-Jan-17 07:35:06

Instagram often 'suggests' porn for me on the explore option and I definitely don't post about porn myself! It's not even something you have to deliberately search, you do genuinely just come across it sometimes when doing innocent things.

harderandharder2breathe Mon 23-Jan-17 07:45:55

The thing with adjusting her age to allow her to use it is that you'll need to readjust it when she actually is 13. I know people who let their 8 year olds have fb, those 8 year olds are now 13 and unless their age has been readjusted since joining, will appear as 18. I know that's less on an issue as she's 11, but still something worth remembering.

She sounds a sensible girl. I would spend some time yourself becoming more familiar with social media and how privacy settings work, so you are in a knowledgable position to guide her from.

Make sure you know her passwords and that she knows you can check up at any time what she's doing on there. And take her phone at night so she's not disturbed by alerts and dramas

GinIsIn Mon 23-Jan-17 07:47:30 would worry me - it's been mentioned a few times on here of late how easy it is to approach kids on it.

I would allow Instagram on condition I had the password, she added me, had a private profile and had the comment modifier turned on. I would state that I planned to check the account regularly to be sure she was safe, and that any breaking the rules on it would mean I took all devices away.

Brokenbiscuit Mon 23-Jan-17 08:00:27

Thank you all, some very good points and useful tips. Can I ask what a comment modifier is?

Isadora2007 Mon 23-Jan-17 08:07:26

You say she is mature and that she feels out of step with her friends. You trust her but can see that continuing to ban it could encourage her to go behind your back. I think you know that it's time to let her find her own way with social media. It sounds like she is a lovely girl and will be honest and upfront so just go with her on this and agree a shared password etc. Two strike rule.
My teens are so much more in control online than I ever would have been...give her credit and yourself for bringing her up well.

GinIsIn Mon 23-Jan-17 08:08:54

In Instagram, you go to 'settings', 'comments' and this option is available....

Ohyesiam Mon 23-Jan-17 10:39:53

What does comment modifier do?

metalmum15 Mon 23-Jan-17 20:55:03

My DD asked for months in year 7 for an Instagram account, I finally let her have one just before she turned 12. We have very strict rules. Both DH & I are 'friends ' with her, she's only allowed to add people she genuinely knows (not someone she once passed in the corridor at school! , she doesn't have to feel pressured into accepting requests from someone she doesn't really like and she isn't allowed to add anyone more than a year older. I also sat her down and talked about the consequences of seeing inappropriate things or maybe feeling left out if she saw her friends posting things she wasn't included on. She knows she can come to me if she needs to.
Since setting up the account, the novelty has worn off, she hardly ever logs on and she's got about 20 friends on her list!
Your daughter sounds very sensible for her age and you also sound like a parent who is concerned and approachable. At the end of the day, social media is here to stay and just getting bigger so it's better for our kids to be well informed when they use it.

I've never seen any porn on Instagram. Maybe I'm just not looking hard enough 😉

NorksAkimbo72 Mon 23-Jan-17 21:43:33

My 10.5 (yr 6)year old DS was recently allowed an Instagram account. Like a few pp, he has privacy filters, and can only follow/accept people he knows. We also follow each other, and my close friends and I will accept follow requests from each other's children, so there are always 'safe' adults keeping an eye on things. He's sensible and so far, so good...he likes it, but doesn't spend loads of time on it, tbh. I've said no way to Snap chat and Instagram has been a way for us to introduce social media with plenty of supervision.

Kennington Mon 23-Jan-17 21:45:57

Good for you. Social media is ok for adults but a disaster for teens.

Calca Mon 23-Jan-17 21:49:40

my ds is 12 and in y7, he only uses WhatsApp, imessage and YouTube, not social media as such. I think if the experts that advise Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat etc say 13, then they should be 13. I work in technology and am not a luddite, use a lot of social media myself but I just think, in y7, they are busy getting used to everything, and can probably do without social media and all the distractions and possible pitfalls that come with it.

I'll let him have them in y8, as he turns 13, if he wants them. tbh they seem to consider Facebook very naff now and are happy with chat software (which is bad enough for certain kids!)

Calca Mon 23-Jan-17 21:54:58

I also use MMGuardian to monitor everything he does online and know all passwords, was a condition of him getting a phone and iPad. He knows this and knows it will continue until he's older. I think it's potentially very dangerous to let's kids go online unmonitored at 10/11 as many people seem to do.

Thissideof40 Tue 24-Jan-17 19:32:59

My DD is in yr7 and uses social media. I keep a check on her privacy settings and when she's gone to bed I do go through her social media to make sure there's nothing going on I need to act on. She'd kill me if she knew and I know it's a bit of a breach of trust but she is only 11.

She does tells me if there's anything on social media she doesn't like. For instance she was FaceTiming her friend recently and her friend took a screenshot then posted it on snapchat. DD asked her to delete it but she refused initially. I threatened to go to the school year head the next day as they have a strict anti bullying policy including social media. Thankfully it was deleted without me having to intervene and I don't think the girl knew I would be going in.

I wish kids didn't have social media to grow up with these days.

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