As I type this, I am multi-tasking by being on hold with my son's mobile carrier. I have them on speaker phone, and they keep playing these pre-recorded messages of different pop artists and bands announcing who they are, followed by a snippet of a song of theirs. I wonder if these artists know how completely terrible their songs sound on the phone speakers. It's pretty bad. It definitely doesn't make me want to run out and purchase their record.
So, instead of focusing on autism this blog, I decided I would venture outside the circle of trust into a broader spectrum of parenting and parenting those pesky teenagers. Ha! As I sat down to write this, I went through my list of things that i could talk about relating to autism, but this is the thing that is most vulnerable to my heart right now- the internet.
|*sigh* Simpler times. When he would just show up with the boom box and not the phone.|
As I have said before, I am raising two boys. Two future men. And, let me tell you, this is no small task. I feel the pressure. I do. Without putting down half the population, I will just say that I know a lot more altruistic women than I know men.
#Ouch! *Biff! %SLAM! #Pow!
Sorry, guys. But, from my vantage point, that is what I see.
By nature, it's kind of not their fault. Ever since that little wench, Eve, tasted that stupid apple, and Adam followed suit, the curse on men has been pretty much playing itself out over and over again generation after generation. Men are obsessed with careers, toiling and slaving away in an endless journey of achieving fulfillment and success. This inevitably leads to an unfulfilling life because we were (in my humble opinion) meant to be in communion with God instead of running around aimlessly plugging in our umbilical cords to work, sex, food, fill-in-the-blank obsession, etc.
And, we've got our problems too. As women, we are forever chasing our relationships and trying to get the man to be for us what only God can be.
I realize this is grossly overstated and cliche. I know every single man is not this stereotypical and every woman is not either.
But, I gotta say...this darned internet could be the life and death of us!!! Just like anything, it is both good and evil. But, today, I can only see a glimmer of the good.
I realize that I am setting myself up by typing anything about the internet and putting it up on the...[wait for it]... internet.
|Love it, hate it. It's here to stay.|
I consider myself somewhat 'with it' when it comes to knowing what's happening in today's world. I love pop culture, indie music, great TV, comedy, all of it. I am a consumer, without question. And, I will say, if you are not "in the know" as it relates to what your kids are in to, then you are already behind the 8 ball.
If you do not have a Facebook account, don't know what a 'tweet' or 'tumblr note' is, then start researching now.
If you don't know who T-Swift, Psy, or Macklemore is, clear your calendar and spend a night on Youtube.
If you don't know what Halo, Skyrim, or Call of Duty are, we got a little work to do.
I'm not suggesting you need to like these things, but you gotta know what your kids are in to. You've got to stay a few steps ahead. Otherwise, you've missed the opportunity to speak truth and light into kids who so desperately need it.
I have since learned over this holiday season that all phones are moving towards being "smart" phones a.k.a.- they get on the internet. Before too long, you will not be able to get just a simple phone that texts and makes calls- it's all going digital, 4G, etc.
Personally, after I got my iPhone, I do not even know what I did with my life before I got it. It has revolutionized and helped my ADD-ness (think iCalendar with alert features) and has kept me connected in ways that have helped (and probably aided in my distractibility, truth be told) so much.
But, I am a grown woman. I know somewhat of how to filter what I need to see and what I don't need to see. Kids do not. I also know what to place on the internet and what not to place on the internet. Kids do not.
So, we have equipped and outfitted this whole new generation with these portals of infinite knowledge, with one click of a button. If my 14 year old wants to know how to do something, he will not ask me how to do it, he will ask Google or Bing or Yahoo.
And, as one male friend told me, these smart phones are little porn portals. Sorry, folks, but that's what they are. And, moms, you need to get your head out of your @$* if you don't think that YOUR boy is doing that. It's basically like placing a big box with a shiny bow on top of their laps and saying, "Sorry, don't look at what's inside!" It's too much to handle. It is asking WAY too much of them.
Then, if you think, well, I'm out of the clear, I have girls!!
NOPE. Think again.
The popular thing for girls to do now is post nude photos of themselves with the cameras that are on these little phones.
NOT MY LITTLE PRINCESS!!!! Uh, yea. It's happening.
And, why wouldn't they? If they are not getting the appropriate attention they want at home, they look to their peers, and then, if not there, let's take it up a notch. This'll get 'em talking!! *click*
So, I can protect my guys from my end, but I cannot protect them from other people. And, the way that men are wired and the way that women are wired...it's the perfect storm.
Some of you may be wanting to move to Pennsylvania on an Amish farm about right now. Believe me, it sounds tempting. You might think, "okay, I could pump my own water!" "I can rock a skirt and bonnet!"
But, it's probably not going to work. And, I went on that field trip with my kid, and it ain't all that. There were women with beards...
So, what do we do with Pandora's box infinitely open?
My only answer is logic and communication. It is not fool proof, but it is a good enough start.
The bottom line for now is that my boys can't have internet on their phones. Hence, the hours of phone time for me with customer service. These companies do have a way to disable internet access. It takes a little finagling, but it can be done.
Even iPods. My son has a classic iPod and not an iPod touch. Sorry! Lame-o mom, at it again!
Also, computers are in all the main parts of the house. No computers in the bedrooms and hiding in closets. Anyone can walk in at any point in time, so no funny bizz-ness. I also have software that sends me emails to my account that lets me know what's being looked at. It is not fun to peruse through the stupid stuff that is googled, but it beats the alternative.
I know what you are thinking...uh, duh! Your son will not always be in your house. What will happen when he leaves for college. Guys, I've got this! I will simply put a police type "house arrest" ankle bracelet and shock collar for any websites that are PG-13 and above. Done and done.
I kid, I kid.
The answer is. I don't know.
This is where trust, grace, faith, prayers, and all of that combined come in to play. I will not always have the filters on and around my children.
But, my hope is that maybe they learned a little something along the way. Maybe they listened to me at some point. Maybe when I am on the edge of their beds with quiet tears letting them know the dangers of the world, they get it.
Maybe I won't try to lecture them in the morning since all I get is glassy-eyed stares. Maybe night time is better.
I do not know.
But, my hope is that the "lame" rules that are in place now will be seen as protective shields later on.
Plus, I am definitely too lazy to live in an Amish community.
P.S. Hopefully no men were 'harmed' in the writing of this blog. :)