Here’s How You Protect Your Kid From ‘Mean Girls’ E-mailing Them – Don’t Give Them An E-mail Account
Everyday I see these heartfelt blog posts written by mommies who are bemoaning the fact that their young daughters are being bullied or harassed by their peers – and one thing I have also noticed with these missives is that in more cases than not, the bullying is taking place by E-mail or text message. Take this for example, written by a Huffington Post blogger named Michelle Cove:
Last fall, my 9-year-old daughter burst into my bedroom crying about an email from her friend “S.” that said: “What are you doing right now? I’m having a sleepover with [other friend] and we’re having so much fun!” My daughter, tears cascading down her cheeks, wanted to know why S. would send that to her. What was the point? How to explain that the point was to crush my daughter? Worse: Mission accomplished.
Now, maybe I’m a Luddite. Scratch that maybe, I am, at least when it comes to my kids. I have no idea why a nine-year-old kids need an email account. You know why I have no idea? Because they don’t. Kids do not need e-mail addresses, or Facebook pages or cell phones. I grew up with NONE of these things and I survived just fine, and it wasn’t until I was in my thirties before I received a MEAN E-mail from anyone. I’m not suggesting you should keep your kids from having an e-mail account until they are 30, but why would a nine-year-old need one? Why would I sixteen-year-old need one? Most kids don’t need one, and unless a classroom instructor is requiring one for school projects I say keep your lot from having one as long as possible.
You can say that they need E-mail to keep in contact with long distance relatives. No, they don’t. Grandma can get off her butt and mail your child an actual letter or postcard using an actual pen and paper. Kids love getting mail, and pretty much every kid needs some time practicing their penmanship which they can do by sitting at your kitchen table and crafting out a reply. Even little kids can scribble a picture using crayons. If grandma refuses to send an actual letter, she can e-mail your kid an electronic missive to your account. Problem solved.
If your kid doesn’t have an e-mail account they can’t get e-mails from mean girls making them feel shitty about themselves or “bullying” them. If you feel like your kid needs to express themselves by using e-mail than you have obviously never heard of buying them a damn journal or letting them use the telephone so you can eavesdrop and if they start sobbing in the middle of the call you can interrupt to see what is going on. Why make things more difficult for you or your kid? Kids have a hard enough time with our jerk kids being mean to them in person, why give them another avenue to make your kid feel bad?
Maybe my own kid is teased because she doesn’t have her own e-mail account or cell phone or whatever, but I have never heard of it. She might come home upset because someone was rude to her on the playground, which is how it should be at her age. I’m not going to let kids be mean to her on the virtual playground until she is much older. I have no idea why parents give their kids e-mail accounts. Do they just like having something else to worry about?