I know that I am in the massive minority when I admit this but I am going to go ahead and bare my soul anyway.
I do not have a smart phone.
No iPhone, no Samsung, no anything...and I am actually very happy with my texting and calling only capabilities. No data plan for me. At least not right now. My friend keeps telling me that as a published writer I am going to need a smartphone with a huge data plan to rule my book empire - and she is probably right. Eventually. If there is an empire. For now though, I am perfectly happy with my ancient, next best thing to Morse code slide phone.
With all the mess about aps and personal security going around, I am happy to be data plan free right now.
One of the things that bothers me most is how willing people are to report every move they make on social networking sites. When I see someone post on my favorite site that they are eating dinner at such and such restaurant or shopping at a certain store, I cringe- they have just announced to the entire world that their house may be sitting empty and available.
Posting pictures while on vacation also frightens me- they say "empty house, gone for a week, help yourself!"
Let's not forget all the "selfies" out there. It's great to post pics of yourself having fun with friends and family but be mindful of what shows up in the background. House numbers, license plates on vehicles and even bumper stickers will clue in the wrong person a whole lot about you and your home.
A common fad especially among young people has been the "sexy selfie". Teenagers trying to hard to be attractive often end up posting pictures that will one day live to regret all in the name of appearing "sexy". What if the person on the other end of those "selfies" is a sexual predator pretending to be a teenager? In this world, sexual predators abound.
I have many a conversation with my students about being mindful of what they post- colleges and employers have become more technology savvy, looking online for potential students and employees. My friend's son recently applied to and was accepted to pharmacy school. For four years of undergraduate school he was vigilant about not putting anything incriminating on the internet and a good thing too- they did extensive background checks.
My eleven year old recently asked me when he could have his own cell phone. I am not ashamed to admit that I laughed at him. What does an eleven year old need with a cell phone? He has access to the internet by other means and if he really needs to call a friend, we have a house phone. And it doesn't even have the hundred foot coiled phone cord I had to drag around the house when I was his age! A cell phone is not necessary for an eleven year old. When he is sixteen and drives I will probably make sure he has one but you can be darn sure it won't be nicer than mine and I will be very vigilant in checking up on exactly what he does on that phone.
Parents, it is our duty to be nosey and get into our kids' business. They need us to do this! They don't have the skills or emotional tools necessary to make wise choices all the time- or even most of the time- so we have to teach them. We need to check up on those "selfies" and text messages and make sure they don't do anything they might regret for a lifetime. It is our job to protect them, teach them and discipline them. They have plenty of friends, they need parents.
I realize that mine is not the popular opinion when it comes to how much technology we need in our home and I can live with that. Many times I have been accused of being overly protective and I own that rightfully. I am overprotective but I can live with that. Thoughts?