There was another new story recently about someone at a local middle school misusing a social networking site to bully fellow students, this time Instagram. Which begs the question, at least for me: why are middle school aged kids allowed on such sites in the 1st place?
I work with kids this age a lot; in my counseling practice, and also especially in my retreats and camps for middle school girls, who are the biggest users of such sites. And I just don’t find girls this age to be mature enough to use them. It takes a ton of impulse control that they don’t often possess.
And it is no different than how hard it is for girls to not gossip or talk behind other people’s backs and spread dramas at school. The dramas played out on sites is just an ugly and pervasive extension of what is happening in real life. But with less filters, and in their minds, less accountability.
They have enough to worry about and handle and sift through from their normal school days and weekends. Why add this other huge layer of potential drama? They need time to get away from it all; to breathe, to let their hair down and not have to worry about how they look or impress everyone. And there are other ways for them to stay connected with their friends.
If I was a parent of a middle school girl or boy, I would have them wait to get onto social networking sites until they were at least in high school, and they would also need to have a long track record of responsible behaviors on other electronics.
Let me know what you all think.