Jesse and I first "met" when my eldest and her youngest were in kindergarten. I say "met" loosely because I had a preschooler attached to my knee and an infant attached to my hip that year. I was in survival mode and don't remember "meeting" many people. The first time I really connected with Jesse was when our children were in first grade. One night while waiting for the elementary school's open house to begin, I stood sheepishly in the corner of the hallway and Jesse waved hello. Surely she wasn't waving to me (I knew no one) so I looked behind to see who she was waving to. Only there was no one there. She waved again. I lifted my hand and pointed to myself in the awkward are-you-waving-to-me motion. The rest is history.
I never told this to Jesse but her simple hello and conversation afterwards were a turning point in my life. Jesse taught me (that one lonely evening at open house that seems like years ago) how easy it was to befriend someone. It couldn't have come from a better teacher too because Jesse has a beautiful soul. I not only admire her but I inspire to be more like her. Sure, everyone knows a "Jesse"- the confident mom of older then your own children whom runs a tight ship and has amazing kiddos. But Jesse is so much more. There's something about her - something extraordinary. I briefly mentioned on my blog last week about sitting around a bonfire with Jesse. I always adore my time with her as she is a wealth of knowledge. What I didn't mention is that I begged her to write a parenting book because I would be the first in line to read it.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that not only is a book in the works; but, she has a good start online with her "Internet Safety Courses".
I'm honored to hand over the microphone to my beautiful friend.
I was recently sitting around a bonfire with a blogger we all know and love (guess who?) and the conversation turned as it often does to the question of whether or not to allow our children to own a mobile phone. Or at a minimum; what age seemed appropriate, blah, blah, blah.
Our favorite blogger (aka Pauline) wanted to know what I thought about devices and age. I have the benefit of two extra streams of experience: I have a teenage son AND I teach Internet Safety to tweens and teens. Double yikes!
Whenever I get this question, I answer with a question: Why does your child at ___ years old require a phone? At times, there are perfectly legitimate reasons like: travel between mom’s house and dad’s house, a long commute home on public transport, or they’ve begun driving. Check, check, and check.
On the other hand I have heard some of these answers over the years (not kidding):
- · She’s the last one of her friends without a phone – and I felt badly
- · She loves pink and I couldn’t think of anything else in pink to buy her
- · I ran out of Christmas gift ideas
- · He wants to play Words with Friends and he was messing up my score
Here’s the thing – our children at 8-14 years old are rather dim-witted. And I mean that in the nicest, kindest way. My son is a straight A’s honor student, but he’s dim as a busted bulb when it comes to emotional and behavioral self-awareness. This is developmentally appropriate; they’re not supposed to completely understand emotional context or behavioral consequences at say, 11 years old.
And yet, we hand them these devices (let’s add laptops, tablets, and gaming devices to the mix) which are wi-fi enabled and then we walk away. The fact that they’re “playing” in their bedrooms give us some warped sense of security.
These children have no idea what they’re doing. They don’t understand that if they drop their pants, and take a photo of their bits and send it along on SnapChat that they can be charged with “creation of child pornography”, once it’s sent out they can be charged with “distribution of child pornography”. Seriously.
Why would children know that? As their parent did YOU tell them that? You probably didn’t even know it yourself until just now. This is the point dear gentle readers; we must become educated. We must know the answer to the question they haven’t yet asked before they ask it.
Soooo, I’ve developed a series of Internet Safety courses which are all online. All you have to do is dial in on a particular day and time, and you’ll see my mug on your screen. We’ll chat live via phone conference number and I’ll break it all down for you. The good, the bad, and the genital, I mean - ugly.
Use the code BLOG13 to get $5 off the cost of each Internet Safety course, making each one just $15. It really is a bargain.
So come join me, and we can get nauseous together! But don’t worry, I’ll hold the barf bag, and in true besties fashion Pauline will hold your hair back. Because we love you, we really do – you just need to WAKE THE HELL UP.
I’m Jesse Cruz –