Tag Archives: children

Why Children Shouldn’t Be Instagram Famous

 How do you feel about Instagram famous children?

instagram famous children

Last week, I noticed an unusually “large” number of followers on my Instagram.  On average I get two followers per day. On that particular day, I gained close to 50 followers. No clue as to how and why it happened.  At first I didn’t think much of it and  followed a few accounts back. However, I soon realized that 99% of the new followers were  Insta-famous children, their account “managed by their parent”. Some as young as four with over 100k followers.  This went on for several days and the more I looked into this, the more disturbing it became.

There are so many parents out there who want their children to be Instagram famous. They post thousands of photos of their children, most of which are photo shopped. Please don’t photoshop your naturally beautiful child!

Call me old-fashioned, but kids this young shouldn’t have their own Instagram accounts.

These parents seem to be oblivious or choose to ignore the frightening fact that a lot of social media love comes from creeps. When your child has tens of thousands of followers, you have to ask yourself whether all these people have good intentions.

When I scrolled through some of these accounts, I noticed the same followers over and over again. Most of their mega fans were middle-aged men who left some really disturbing comments.

instagram famous

How creepy is this? What’s even worse is the parent’s reply : “much appreciated”.  No one should call a child ‘very sexy’ and no parent should appreciate it. Keep in mind this is the account of a five or six-year-old girl.

These parents are literally wooing and inviting the worst of humanity: child pedophiles.

The same people wouldn’t let their child walk down the street alone, yet it’s o.k. to expose them to millions of strangers on social media.

Then there are the hashtags: #BathTime, #NakedKids and #ToiletTraining.

I spoke to two police officers who said they find these images along with child pornography. Pedophiles use places like Instagram to ‘collect’ photos and to sell or trade photos of children. Sometimes these predators manipulate and photoshop, so that the head of the child is pasted onto another child’s naked body. An Australian study found roughly half of images shared on pedophile sites were taken from social media sites.

What about privacy? It’s crazy how many parents post photos of their kids on social sites with no regard to their child’s privacy now or in the future.  It’s not fair to the child to exploit their images endlessly and no 14-year-old wants their 2-year-old naked photo lingering on the internet. These children will find out that much of their private lives have been online for years.

This, however, can go beyond future embarrassment. Two years ago, an 18-year-old woman sued her parents for posting more than 500 photos of her on Facebook without her consent. The images show her in diapers, her underwear, on the potty, and even naked. I’m sure there’ll be more similar legal proceedings in the future.

Let’s be real, the toddler or small child could care less about the likes and follows. So what is the upside of being Instagram famous? Is  it all about the parent’s ego? Who benefits from the likes and follows? Not the child.

Parents should carefully consider  the long-term implications for their child of having a highly visible digital footprint.

By trying to turn your child into an Instagram star, you are giving that child an online persona before it even has chance to develop its own personality. Parents have their own identity and destinies, our children have the right to decide theirs.

Why We Shouldn’t “Clear The Road” For Our Kids

kids graduation

It’s not easy to say this, but part of a parent’s job is to help our kids not need us.

This became very clear to me, last week, when my daughter Christy moved to New York City.  To many, the Big Apple is a scary, fast-pace place. Christy, however, thrives in this city. New York energizes her, she says.

At 21, Christy , a recent college graduate, was able to secure a much sought-after position in New York.  She found an apartment through Craigslist, rented a car, subleased her old apartment in Tennessee, paid her bills, packed up her stuff and drove 13 hours to her new home in Brooklyn. She figured out every single detail on her own. After all, she’s an adult, and that’s what adults do.

To say that I’m proud of her and her sister, is a huge understatement. Their focus, hard work, attitude and resilience, is what I admire most.

My children were never the children who got what they want, when they want it. Each success was earned with hard work and commitment. Their work ethic is everything. Their dedication, admirable. They stick to their goals and achieve their dreams.

Parents often try so hard to create magical memories for their children to keep them happy.  In the meantime, they remove obstacles and often fail to teach qualities like character, perseverance, patience, and determination. Basically, everything that they’ll need to be happy, successful adults.

As teens, my daughters had several friends who grew up in “a bubble”. Although we lived in an extremely safe neighborhood, their friends were afraid to walk down their own street without a parent. Moms supervised their homework assignments all the way through senior year. Every teacher-student disagreement was settled by a parent. Needless to say, those kids were a hot mess in college.

I don’t believe in over-parenting. Growing up, my mom fed and clothed us and occasionally asked if we had done our homework. We knew our “job” was to work hard and do well in school. At the tender age of 12, I found a job washing dishes at a restaurant.  By 14, I was a cashier at a big box store where I remained until I graduated high school. After high school, I moved from a small town in Germany to NYC to work as an Au Pair. I was able to stand on my own two feet. This was before cell phones and internet.

I look around and wonder what happened to independent young people? These days, parents still hover as their children attend college. Here’s what I see;  a bunch of  academically overqualified teens who are under-equipped to deal with the day-to-day issues of life. Many are afraid of their own shadow.

kids graduation

Some college kids don’t even pick their own classes. Their parents do it.  It’s real and I’ve seen it. The University of Utah has built a “cry closet” for students who feel overwhelmed with finals.

Isn’t college supposed to be a place to prepare students for adulthood? Sure, even adults get overwhelmed sometimes. We cry. But we do not expect places to be built for us so we can have a public breakdown. Furthermore, employers don’t offer “cry closets”. You deal with “stuff” or you get fired. This will really give you something to cry about.

Parents of college students need to step back and let the young adults handle their own college experience. While parents might think they are acting in their kids’ best interests, they are, in fact, denying them the opportunity to look after themselves.

Let your kids deal with the broken heater in their dorm. Have them pay rent and balance their check books. Encourage them to get a job. And please, let them pick their own classes.

Pushing yourself to overcome challenge is a source of pride for most people. This is not about being perfect. When my kids achieve a goal, I congratulate them. When they fail I give them encouragement on what they did well and let them know that I believe in them. I also encourage them to try harder.

In my opinion, allowing your kids to deal with “life” is true love and true love thinks beyond instant gratification and short-lived happiness. True love values character and commitment over quick fixes.

Studies have found that when parents take over their children’s lives, the children feel more self-conscious and worried. To those kids the world must seem like a very scary place.

graduation

The truth is your kids are longing to live so let them. If you micromanage your kids they will try  to prove to you they can do it “their way”. If your teenager feels you cannot handle the truth about their life, they will hide it from you. My kids are not afraid to tell me when they mess up. They know I believe in them and I know they will try harder next time.

Trust me, you will be a lot more influential in your teen’s decision making if you cultivate an open relationship.

When we “clear the road” for our children, we make their life too easy.  We don’t allow them to build necessary life skills they’ll so desperately need to handle the “real world”.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share them in the comment section below.

 

Is Your Child Ready For A Debit Card?

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Greenlight, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #GreenPMG  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Greenlight debit card

Last month, my son, Daniel, started high school. I still can’t believe it. How can it be that just four short years from now, he’ll be a college freshman?

Daniel loves high school and is eager to join varies clubs and sports teams. I’m all for it . I want him to have a great high school experience. In middle school, Daniel was a member of the school’s Quiz Bowl team. The kids did great – the team won state (Tennessee), which meant they were able to compete in the nationals in Orlando, Florida.

While I prepaid for his transportation, hotel, and admission tickets,  Daniel brought cash for his meals, drinks, etc. And because the team stayed for an entire week, I had to give him a pretty large amount of cash. Teenagers are always hungry and I certainly didn’t want him to run out of food money. Needless to say, I worried he’d lose the money. I also worried he’d spent his money on unnecessary things instead of nutritious meals.

high school freshman

Cash can only go so far and it significantly limits your ability as a parent to stay informed about your child’s spending activity. That’s where Greenlight, the smart debit card for kids comes in. The Greenlight debit card is not only exciting for kids, but it provides extra control and convenience for busy parents who don’t want to miss out on teachable moments. Plus, what child doesn’t want a plastic card like their parents?!

A Greenlight debit card may be safer for kids and teens than cash and prepaid debit cards. Why? Cash can be lost, stolen or spent outside of your agreed-upon spending plan. Your kids can’t withdraw cash or get cash back from their Greenlight Card. And if your child loses a prepaid debit card, it’s as good as losing cash. If your child’s Greenlight card is lost or stolen, you can quickly lock it and block purchases.Greenlight debit card

Greenlight costs just $4.99/mo per family, which includes cards for up to 5 children. It also offers zero-fee loading for parents transferring money into their Greenlight account. You can try it for 30 days before deciding if it is right for you and your family.

Next month, Daniel, turns 14 and he wants to get a job. Although his options are limited at this age (grocery bagger, fast food worker), I admire his motivation and drive.

occasionally, I “hire” him as my blog photographer and “computer person”. Not gonna lie, the kid knows more about computers (and technology in general) than I do. Gone are the days where I could  “pay” him with a slice of pizza.  Now I have to pay him real money. I can give him cash (which I almost never have on me) or I can transfer money from my account to his Greenlight card.

I think it’s important to give your child more independence as they reach a new age and stage in life, and having a debit card is a big responsibility.

Greenlight was made for children and built by parents. Unlike most debit cards, Greenlight supports kids ages 8-18. Greenlight believes that each child should learn the basics of money management as soon as possible, and it’s one of the most important things you will ever teach them.Greenlight

SOME GREAT GREENLIGHT FEATURES:
  • Greenlight offers a convenient automated allowance feature to ‘set it and forget it’ so your kids always receive their allowance on time, with no fees for you.
  • Greenlight allows kids independence to spend their own money while you retain control over where their money is spent and how much they have to spend in certain stores or types of retailers.
  • Greenlight enables you to approve specific stores where your kids can spend money. Simply search for a specific store within the app and add money to your child’s card instantly. Don’t want to set restrictions? Add money via the “Spend Anywhere” Greenlight and your child can spend that money where they see fit. You and your child will receive real-time notifications after each purchase.
  • Whether your child makes a purchase, requests money, or sends you a message, you’ll receive an instant notification of all activity so you’re always in the know.
  • Greenlight is the safest way to give your kids money, approve their spending, and prepare them to become financially smart adults.
  • Greenlight is far safer than cash beyond just having a unique PIN. Even if the card is stolen, thieves will be hard pressed to figure out which stores the card will work at without also having access to the app.
  • Lose a Greenlight Card or want to temporarily disable your child’s card? No sweat. Simply turn the card off within the Greenlight App. Parents can turn a card on or off at any time instantly!
  • Greenlight is available for iOS and Android
FREE TRIAL & A $20 BONUS

Sign up for Greenlight before 10/30 and they’ll deposit a $20 bonus into your account after the 30-day free trial ends. *deposit bonus made approximately two weeks after free trial ends.

How are you preparing your children to become financially savvy adults? I’d love to hear from you.