Monday, November 8, 2010

I Think We'd Better Ask Someone Who's On the Scene

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and LG Text Ed

This is Rob:

Hi, Rob.

He's eleven years old, nearly twelve. He likes video games, logic puzzles, Rubik's Cubes, sleeping in, SpongeBob Squarepants. He gets cranky because so far I won't let him have a cell phone.

Here he is watching our street get torn up this past summer.

Oh, and here he is with all the kids,
watching William do an experiment.

I don't show Rob's face very often on my blogs. This is because I haven't figured out yet where "my writing job" and "his privacy" overlap---and where they don't. When I was his age (You: "HERE we go"), there WAS NO INTERNET, and so it's not like I can think back to how _I_ felt about having MY mother post MY picture online, or whatevs. So until I figure something out, or until he starts objecting, I err on the side of UNDER-posting his face.

In fact, the whole issue of online privacy/interaction for kids is a confusing and uncertain one for me. I can't tell him funny/embarrassing stories-with-morals about how when _I_ was a child I mishandled texting, or email, or Facebook. I can talk to him about the issues I've heard about, but I can't think to myself, "Let's see, I remember the online teasing started around grade ____, so I need to be sure to ask him about it more often and make sure we're staying on top of his Facebook account and texts."

It really is hard for us parents to know what's actually going on---and sometimes we don't find out until something's gone very badly wrong indeed. But we can at least ASK, right? So here's the deal: this is a 2-post series, and on this one you can ask any question you want Rob to answer about technology at school and/or at his age: bullying via technology, cell phone use, texting, all that stuff. And on the second one, I'll interview him and post his replies.

To ask questions of kids in other age groups: the BlogHer round-up page.

From the client:

Each comment left on this post benefits with a $0.50 donation! Because this topic is so important for our kids and their futures, BlogHer really wants to get the conversation about texting, sexting and safety going – both with our kids and among parents. It will match LG’s donation of .50 to for every comment on this post, so please give me your suggestions on questions for my kids. will get a $1.00 for each and every one.

Visit LG Text Ed , where Dr. Rosalind Wiseman explains the dangers and consequences of this new form of flirting. You can also watch Emmy award winning actress Jane Lynch share a lesson on the sensitive stuff kids are sending around without thinking about the consequences.


Bitts said...

Hi, Rob! I'm the mother of a son, but I didn't have any brothers, so I'm really curious about what it's like to be a boy. One thing I think about a lot is how you think about girls and women. Rob, tell me about how you believe girls and women are different form boys and men. How do you think boys and men DO or SHOULD act toward girls and women? What things do you notice about girls and women when you see them or talk to them? If you want to mention sex or bodies or whatever, that's ok. I'm interested in whatever you have to say about it. Thanks, Rob!

wisdomandpeace said...

I don't necessarily have any teenage-angst questions for Rob at this point since my children are small, but I just wanted to say that the reason I refuse to join Facebook is to maintain my children's privacy. I don't see a need for our family's pictures to be up on the Internet. If I want to share photos or family news with someone, I'll send them an email with photos attached. I think you're right, Swistle, not to post photos of Rob on your blog and I seem to remember that you use aliases for your kids as well, and that's smart.

Little-Bit said...

Hey Rob! My question is you WANT you're picture up on Facebook or your mom's blog? I have kids..some older than you, some younger than you and I have pics of them up. It seems that the older they get, the less they like pictures taken AT ALL. They don't mind the good ones going up, but there are fewer and fewer to choose from. So, what's your take?

Melissa said...

I'd like to ask why you want a cell phone: what would you use it for, do your friends have cell phones, etc.

sb123 said...

I'm wondering if the bullying and sexting I keep hearing about is as big a problem as the amount of talk it gets. Have you seen any bullying or sexting at your school?

Bailey said...

Hey there Rob. My question is about online restrictions at your school. When I was in school, we had to have a special sticker on our school ID that said our parents said it was okay for us to go online for research or in computer class. Is it just a given that everybody gets to use the internet at your school? And does the school block any sites (like facebook, or myspace, or gaming sites)?

Oh, and do they still teach typing in school, or do they figure that most kids know how?

(Note to Swistle: it will be 2018 before my kiddo is in the grade Rob is in right now, which seems unfathomable...that it will ever be 2018, and that she will ever be 11. Oy.)

L said...

My question for Rob: Do you ever get sick of all the technology? Do you ever just want a technology free day, or tech free project? As an example, I can't just watch tv anymore - I have to watch it with a laptop on my lap. Schoolwise, I was upset in the fall of 1997 (grade 9) when we had to present our social studies projects on powerpoint as it was obvious every last group's end product suffered due to the requirement that we fumble through powerpoint at the same time. I've never let it go because I am a raging (proud) nerd.

Sabrina said...

My questions for Rob:
1) Do you use Facebook?
2) If yes, do you LIKE it? Or do you use it because everyone else uses it?
3) How many of your classmates use Facebook (approximately?)
4) Do the teachers or school use Facebook groups, implying that they assume or expect you to use it?
5) What do you think of parents being their kids' "friend" on Facebook? Do your parents require it? Do your classmates' parents require it?

(Please note, I am 31 years old and do NOT use Facebook! This is for many reasons, but mostly because I'm a shy, private person. But I get that my kids will probably want to use it in a few years, and I will have to learn how to do it. Your advice or thoughts will be truly appreciated. Thanks!)