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Shocked and saddened by dd messages on Instagram

55 replies

Countrygirl001 · 06/11/2015 12:45

Unknown to my daughter, who is 12, I have recently looked through her messages on Instagram. I am pretty shocked by some of the stuff I've read. There is some sexually explicit chat with a couple of different boys who are both the same age as her. My two concerns on this are the content of the messages (really not appropriate at 12) and how she seems to be constantly chasing one of the boys who, although joined in the explicit chat, is clearly not interested (good!).

She is also pretty mean, bordering on bullying, to her cousin and one of her cousins friends (they are also 12). I'm worried how this could all blow up if my brother/ sister-in-law read the messages.

I honestly cannot believe this is the same girl, my lovely dd who up until recently has been so quiet and loving - she seems to have turned into someone I really don't know. I'm upset and really disappointed by all this.

So now I have to deal with this and am asking for advice. I feel a slight sense of guilt at snooping on her messages - how do I tackle this aspect as well?

OP posts:
RattusRattus · 06/11/2015 12:49

Sorry. No advice, I'm afraid but will watch with interest. My DD wants to go on Instagram and I'm holding off on allowing it for exactly these reasons.

UptownFunk00 · 06/11/2015 12:54

I think the problem with online messaging is you feel like you can say what you like whereas in person you'd probably not dream in being so upfront.

If you're worried she's actually going to indulge in any sexual behaviour I would definitely have a talk with her. I was messaged around that age by a few boys and did engage in some stuff albeit online that now turns my stomach as I was only really a little girl but at that age you think you're as mature as anyone.

I'd find an appropriate time to sit down with her and tell her what you saw. Explain to her you weren't trying to be nosy, but she is still very young and you want to know she is safe. Let her know that bullying in any way is not acceptable and it will be dealt with appropriately if it continues. Try to make her understand how she'd feel if it was being directed at her.

I hope she grows out of this behaviour soon it's really concerning I'm sure. I'm only 25 so not been that long ago since I was around her age group and I'm well aware of what the internet can do to innocence.

Best of luck OP :)

RattusRattus · 06/11/2015 12:56

I'm well aware of what the internet can do to innocence.

Sad What a horrible truth.

Amarker · 06/11/2015 13:09

I think it's a difficult one. I was her age not too many years ago and I remember how the Internet does indeed alter innocence (and possibly alter your perception of the world).

Children are indeed growing up too fast these days, in a sense of what goes through their heads at such young ages. I thought I was the most mature person ever at 13ish, God do I laugh at what I thought was mature now. In truth, perhaps I'll look at myself now in 5 years time and laugh!

I don't think you should stop her being online though, but just be really open with her like a caring Mum and express your concerns.

christinarossetti · 06/11/2015 13:19

I think she"s too young for Instagram, sorry.

If children don't have a grasp of the wider and long term implications of sending very personal messages, then they shouldn't be put in a position where they find out the consequences of that the hard way (and remember for the rest of their lives).

shebird · 06/11/2015 19:35

I feel for you OP.

My DD has Instagram and I really don't like it. It seems to be the source of so much trouble and anxiety amongst her and her friends. I monitor it daily and the first sign of her doing anything inappropriate and its gone. I am constantly shocked by how young girls pout and pose and seek validation - it's just all too much too soon and they are not emotionally mature enough to cope with it.

It seems there are two issues here the sexually explicit chat and the bullying. In a way your DD is lucky that you have seen the messages before anything in either of these situations went any further. I have no advice on what to say to your DD but I don't think you should feel guilty for snooping. What you found just emphasises the need for parents to be vigilant about their kids online activity.

Ledkr · 06/11/2015 19:56

Do you limit her use?
Dd is 13 and cannot self regulate so I limit it
She also knows her big brothers and other family members can see what she posts.
I agree you need to chat to her.
As soon as I cottoned on to dd being aware of "boys n stuff" I began having fairly Frank conversations with her. The car is a great place to chat.
I keep it light hearted but fairly straight talking and she shares quite a bit with me.
I think it's the only way forward.
My mum was very cagey and prudish and I was pregnant at 16 so I'm determined to get this right.

Caprinihahahaha · 06/11/2015 20:04

My Dd is 13 so I feel your pain.

Firstly I wouldn't apologise for snooping. I know people will be outraged but she's a child using a medium that require maturity. My DD knew from the off that she could only use Instagram if I oversaw it. That was the deal. She also has her 22 year old brother on there too.
I never comment but I see what she posts. I also take her phone/iPad from her when she's using it.

I would explain its your job to keep her safe, that she is making mistakes and poor choices - which is what children are meant to do - so you are going to talk about it. There will be no punishments but there will be new rules.

bloodyteenagers · 06/11/2015 20:48

This is one of the reasons why I am very anal about age restrictions regardless of

Now to put my professional head on -
Here is what I advice in no particular order -

Contact the school - although this is outside of school they should have an esafety policy and should have stuff in place for if this happened on their premises.. To simply say certain sites are blocked if a crap excuse
And shows a disregard to esafety as they should know there are always ways to bypass their blocks.

Google ceop, they have masses of stuff catered to parents and kids not just professionals.

Look at your own filters on your wifi, the phone and the phones networks. Some are easier than others to add blocks.

Contact brook. They aren't just about safe sex etc. they are also about relationships and can offer catered support but you need to be really open with them and accept that you might eventauly be told stuff you might not want to hear. However, again depending on what support you go for they can offer you help/support.

Also find out if your local police do something called DARE.

The reason I advice the above is cos you aren't just dealing with one thing. You want to maintain the trust that is diminishing yet you also need to deal with bullying and sexual behaviour. The above are groups that deal with this on a regular basis, and will be able to offer long and short term help. Just remember there is no quick fix and you have to be honest and be open with all the questions no matter how hard they might be.

cansu · 06/11/2015 20:56

Bloody teenagers that is a massive over reaction. OP talk to your dd. don't apologise for looking at her messages it is your role to monitor her. Personally I would explain why you are concerned. Either close the account for a short time until you think she is more mature or limit her use. Keep checking and make her aware that you will remove her access if necessary. Be thankful that you have caught her. This actually gives you a heads up and more chance of keeping her safe and also possibly preventing a whole range of friendship and bullying issues.

MrsHerculePoirot · 06/11/2015 21:05

This site has loads of great advice for parents, including how to start conversations. It will also have age appropriate links for her that you could go through with her.

Hard as it is, I wouldn't 'ban' it - she will just access it behind your back. Try to keep talking to her, try to find some way of getting her to see she is bfordering on bullying (chances are she thinks she isn't). I would let the school know, they may be able to address online behaviours in a general sense too. Do let her know you feel let down, nothing worse than disappointment. Good luck.

babarthefuckingelephant · 06/11/2015 21:06

I think you're justified in feeling everything you're feeling and I know I'd feel exactly the same, But just try to take a really understanding approach with her. She doesn't have the life experience to know better yet as she's still exploring the world and figuring it all out. I know thats not an excuse but it was hard enough when I was a teenager and the internet wasn't a huge thing like it is now.
Just be mindful that although she has some lessons to learn and needs to reign in the sexual stuff and the bullying, you're never going to feel like she is a representation of her real self online, because how many of us can honestly say we are? How many of us can say our face books or twitters are 100% accurate to our real lives and encompass all of who we are as a person.
I guess what I'm trying to say is don't be TOO disappointed by it all because it doesn't mean your lovely dd isn't still your lovely dd, she's just not comfortable in her own skin being lovely dd online and hasn't figured it out yet.
We only had to learn to love ourselves and accept ourselves as teens and that was hard enough but they have to figure out how to then project that to the millions online while they haven't yet figured it out themselves. Im not excusing the behaviour though. A good starting point to talk might be sitting down with a drink or something and saying you want to chat and watching this together... The captions she writes might just show her that thats not what life is actually like.

bloodyteenagers · 06/11/2015 21:09

How is it a massive Over reaction?
Bullying and sexualised behavior don't appear from nowhere.
What happens when the girl denies everything and gets more sneakative? There is nothing to stop her from opening another account where she continues and possibly escalates and in the meantime keeps this account to show that she is sorry, and sees the error in her judgment? She doesn't add anyone that can report back to parents/family..i.e. The op will not know about the online stuff.

This is a 12 year old who is chasing boys sexually.. By getting advice the op can help her child. By getting the school involved they can run sessions as part of groups around relationships. By asking ceop for advice she can protect her child from the possible exploitation of her online behavior. By getting proper advice and support she can better help her child whilst maintaining open channels of trust. Rather than going in now and the dd being more secretive.

bloodyteenagers · 06/11/2015 21:12

And I am glad to see I am not the only person advising the op to Google ceop/ Thinkuknow. Thank you Mrshp for putting the link up.

Kennington · 06/11/2015 21:13

I would switch of the wireless
Instagram is a fairy tail imaginary existence and or advertising. She is just too young for it.

Ban it and explain the sex talk is daft too.
Perhaps tell her never to write anything she would regret being read at her funeral - that worked on me anyway!!!

lunar1 · 06/11/2015 21:18

She is a child and not yet old enough to understand all the implications of Internet use, and the content of what she is posting. She is not old enough for unregulated access, or to keep what she is posting private from you.

I think you will have to tell the relatives parents what is going on too, they need to help their dd with the situation as well. When you have delt with this I would be telling her that you will be randomly checking any accounts she has, it's not about snooping, it's to protect her.

MrsHerculePoirot · 06/11/2015 21:25

All of you advising 'banning' it, how do you think this will be enforced? At my previous school 90-95% of year 8 children (12/13) had facebook/social media accounts they used regularly. About 25% of year 8 parents thought their children did. I would say the vast majority of the others were absolutely adamant that their children didn't use it because they 'didn't allow it'. It is extremely naive to think you can stop children accessing it, all you do by banning it, especially after they have already started using it, is to make them do it behind your back.

Caprinihahahaha · 06/11/2015 21:27

I don't ban it.

But if I wanted to how could she use it when I regularly have her phone and iPad?

Goodbetterbest · 06/11/2015 22:21

The deal here is that they hand devices over, without question, whenever asked. Having gadgets and being allowed on social media is a privilege not a right. I will block people, reply to inappropriate messages if I feel they have gone to far, and pull them on things which come up (other boys of 12 calling girls sluts etc). We've had a few discussions on posts which have reinforced some principals. I do monitor and it is a pain; but it does reinforce some positive message. Mainly if you aren't happy for your nana to see it, don't post it.

BettyBi0 · 06/11/2015 22:37

Gosh it's tricky. In my teens - pre digital anything thank goodness - my mum was forever going through my private stuff and reading my diary and letters. She thought she was looking after my best interests but 25 years later I still have massive issues with privacy and control. I don't think I've ever really forgiven her for the breach of trust. So, if you are snooping through your daughter's private messages you should tread very carefully.

Does she know you have access to her messages or will it come as a surprise?

It must be so hard becoming a teenager and not being able to do embarrassing things without there being digital evidence everywhere.

Caprinihahahaha · 06/11/2015 23:01

I don't 'snoop' because everything my daughter does on line is with the full knowledge that I may well look at it.
Her diary, her private conversations are different.
We talk about it all the time and I am very mindful of her feelings.

If she had massive privacy issues 25 years later I would imagine that to be about much more than my looking at her phone.

Caprinihahahaha · 06/11/2015 23:02

This is also a 12 year old. Not even a teenager. A child.

LyndaNotLinda · 06/11/2015 23:06

I don't believe children need (or should have) online privacy at the age of 12.

Instagram has a 13 plus age limit doesn't it?

MrsHerculePoirot · 07/11/2015 08:57

caprini through friends internet at their houses, via other children's devices at school, via games consoles, possibly via school Internet for example.

OP have you had time to look at the link earlier. It really is good and one that I have used with parents and students very successfully loads at school.

ProfGrammaticus · 07/11/2015 09:02

Yes, you don't have a right to online privacy at 12. That comes in later, at 15/16ish. At 12 I would be upfront about what I had seen. I don't know how Instagram works - is it public like twitter or do you have to be connected to see hers like Facebook?

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