Treasured Moments…& This Auntie’s Dilemma

Well, he did it. My little Ty Bear took his very first steps yesterday! It was beautiful and perfect and absolutely one of the best moments ever! Its the sweetest thing, really. I mean, he’s been crawling around nonstop for weeks, pulling himself up on everything, everyone, and anything, so it’s been coming. But still…I wasn’t prepared. At. All. I didn’t even notice it at first. Jacob did. Yep. I was on the phone with my grams at the time and I look over and Jake is sitting on the floor just staring up and I look at Ty and I literally had to do a double-take. No joke. There he was, at least a foot or so away from the recliner, not holding on to anything. And for a second he just stood there, not wobbling, nothing. Just stood there. Then out of nowhere, he just moved his little foot forward and then the other and then he turned his little head and looked at me like “uh, what do I do now?” And god, it was the most amazing thing. Really. Amazing. Incredible. The adjectives are endless.

I freaked of course. Meanwhile, my grams is on the line going what, what?! And I was just going, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god…tears going and all…it was something. A real sight to see. Me, the crazy Auntie a blithering mess of tears and oh my gods, and Ty probably thinking, yeah, she’s lost it. And I had, because I was so afraid that I wasn’t going to be here to see it. I mean, I know most babies start walking before they’re one and he’s been on the move, but I figured it’d be my sister or brother-in-law that saw it first–which would have been completely fine and all–but yeah. I didn’t think I’d ACTUALLY be the one to see his first steps. But I did and I was and gosh, it was just an incredible feeling. My little Ty Bear is mobile.

bashful ty 10.31.14

The rest is going to be blur, I know. Next thing we all know, he’s going to be 16 and getting his license and we’re all going to be wondering where the years went. It’s crazy. Gosh, they grow up so damn fast. It’s not even fair. It’s really not. At all. In fact, I just had a phone fight with my oldest niece, Angelina earlier this afternoon….which is a perfect example of the insanity. So my mother calls me to get the information on her iPod, something about needing it replaced because she cracked the screen or whatnot–details not really important. Anyhow, the conversation quickly escalated into how my mother took away the iPod because Angelina’s been using it nonstop and my mother’s caught her on Instagram and other sites that’s she’s been told not to go on. Now, Angelina is eleven. ONLY 11 years old. Which, in my book, is WAY too young for social media–that includes Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and well, you get the point. Now, my mother’s not really in-the-know when it comes to the internet or social media for that matter, but she knows that I’ve told Angelina not to use Instagram–AND that I’ve deleted the app from her iPod on several occasions already. Anywho, my mother’s talking to me and Angelina’s in the background telling her to shut up and whatever and so I have my mother put her on the line. Angelina comes on and as usual, immediately starts LYING about how she didn’t have Instagram on there and when I told her I knew that she did and how she’s already been told NOT to use it, she told me to shut up and hung up on me. Oh yeah. I looked at the phone and was like–what the hell?! She did NOT just hang up on me. Ironically after, I was on my Facebook and ranted about it and a couple of people commented back about how times are different and that we (us adults) were just like that when we were growing up, wanting to do things that our parents told us we couldn’t…and that we have to learn to adjust with the technology and teach them how to be safe rather than trying to stop them from using it altogether…and things of that sort. So naturally, I responded back with MY OPINION. Which basically amounted to…um, hell no!

I’m not an idiot. I know that things are a lot different now than they were when I was growing up with the technology and whatnot. But I’m not ancient. I’m 27. Which means, all this social media stuff, came out in my generation. We’re the ones that have implemented all of it. I know how it works. And for that reason, I do not want my 11-year-old niece using it. I’m an adult. I do know how it works, so I know how unsafe certain aspects of social media can be. She doesn’t. She’s a child! I’m not saying that she shouldn’t be allowed to use the internet or be barred from using technology altogether. That’s ridiculous. Especially in this day and age. But she does not need to be uploading selfies to Instagram. And she sure as hell doesn’t need to be “networking” on Facebook. If she wants to network, she can do it the same way NORMAL kids have done for decades before Facebook and Twitter existed…in school. These parents who let their 9-year-olds go to school with their own iPhones and let them set up their own profiles on Facebook because they think its cute–it’s for the birds. What was said in some of those comments on my rant was true–in that the times are different. They are. Because, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t remember kids EVER being as cruel as they are today. I’m constantly reading stories about kids being bullied in schools across the country and now with the internet and Facebook–cyber bulling is one of the biggest threats. And there’s little that can be done about it. You can’t monitor everything. To think that you can is just a joke, because you can’t. Kids are going to be kids and they’re clever little devils, especially the kids today. They know how to get around on the internet, some even better than we do…which is saying a hell of a lot considering I think I’m pretty good at maneuvering the ins and outs of the internet. Like I said in my response though, it’s not so much my niece that I don’t trust. I trust her–somewhat–I mean, she is a kid so the trust can only go so far–but she’s at that age where she’s so impressionable. And trusting. She doesn’t have a clue yet how cruel the world–and other kids for that matter–can be. She doesn’t GET that there are predators lurking in the shadows of the web, just waiting to pounce on unsuspecting children like her. That’s what people are forgetting. The monsters aren’t just on the streets now. They’re in our homes. On our computers. They’re in places where you can’t see.

And these kids don’t get the consequences of their actions. Take sexting for example. These kids are sending texts of themselves to their boyfriends and girlfriends, thinking there’s no harm in sending a few pictures…when in reality…there is. Aside from the fact that you’re sending something across a connection that isn’t as secure as you’d like to think to someone who, chances are, you’re probably going to break up with in a week or two anyhow, how about the fact that should these pictures fall into the hands of the authorities? What then? Suppose you’re a 17 year old guy and your girlfriend is just shy of legal? Well sorry, but that “completely harmless” sexy pic just landed you a lovely spot on the sex offender registry buddy. Is that fair? Well, no. But the laws haven’t caught up to technology just yet so there’s nothing you can do about that. And that’s just one example. I could give you plenty others.

Don’t get me wrong, I love social media. I do. But I’m an adult. I can protect myself. My niece can’t. And she shouldn’t have to. At least not yet. She should be able to surf the web and be a kid and not have to worry. That’s all I want. And some may call me a hypocrite or call me overbearing, but the fact of the matter is, I don’t want my niece to be another headline that someone like me is going to read when they scroll through their news feed one day. I don’t want to see her beautiful little face marred by tears as she’s holding up cards in some YouTube video she’s posted because she’s decided she can’t take one more day of being cyber bullied–god forbid that should ever be something she’s confronted with. And I don’t want her taken advantage of by some sicko who’s trolling for kids on the internet. I realize that I’m going to be leaving and moving to another state soon and that I’m not going to be physically here to monitor what she does and it breaks my heart that I won’t be able to protect her from everything–because god I so badly want to, more than anything, to protect her from all the evil in this world…but I can do what I can now. I can try to convince her that right now, she doesn’t need to use these sites. It’s not that I’m trying to stop her from growing up–as much as I wish I could–but that’s not my intention. I just want to give her a chance to be a kid, while she still can, you know? She doesn’t realize how fast it goes and how precious this time really is–and all too soon she’s going to learn that things aren’t as black and white as they seem to her right now–and she’s going to want this time back. I guess, I just want to try to save her from herself, in a way. I mean, as her aunt–as someone who loves her–and I do, I love that little girl so much–I just want to keep her safe and protect her. I just want what’s best for her. Though, come to think of it, a nice little bubble that’d she fit in would be absolutely PERFECT right about now… oh there I go again, wishful thinking…



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