The News, Advertising, and Understanding the Beat on the Street when it comes to Tweens

A few months ago, Nancy Friedman, KidzVuz, explained the 13-year old age requirement for Instagram, Facebook, etc is actually based on COPPA guidelines for advertisers to me… Basically, companies are not permitted to collect data on anyone under thirteen and/or to solicit kids under thirteen years old with ads.  There is actually legislation on this and it is not some random age or number that some power to be came up with in order to join the social media club.


Obviously, advertising on social media networks is somehow, some way individualized and pulls on personal data like the age of the member and their preferences determined by what they tweet, like, post.  (Must be why I get a ton of ‘I love my beagle’ propaganda.)  Which brings to argument, if your kid is lying about their age, then they are getting advertising geared towards that specific age demographic.  Perhaps, Viagra? Or, Menopausal Treatments?  Or better yet, Beer?


I am basically undecided about how I feel about my kids seeing ads that are not expressly written for them.  I mean – they watch the Super Bowl, March Madness, The NBA Draft and the like.  The advertisements during this programming is not aimed for them either.  I don’t have girls, but I imagine some of the shows which they are watching, also feature commercials geared to a more sophisticated viewer.  I realize this is my choice to allow my kids to watch this programming, so who am I to complain?


I just decided a long time ago that it was much better for my kids to view this kind of shit stuff with my husband or me than without.  We have a pretty open environment in our household in which no question is too silly or stupid, and often, coming across various media images together provides that backdrop for some interesting conversation.  Not only does viewing the often inappropriate or off-target messages together allow Henry or me to explain what is exactly wrong about them, BUT it provides a window into the beat on the street.


By this I mean, the notions, general thinking/thoughts, misconceptions, and right ideas, my sons and their peer group may or may not be having.  This is something that I believe is even more difficult to tap into with the growing reliance of kids on social media and texting to communicate.  It can be a very quiet world we live in and unless we spend hours trying to decipher/follow-up on all of their social accounts and play the guessing game, we haven’t a clue.  In a nutshell, the art form of talking is getting lost, and it pains me.


Talking is the only way to truly understand deep feelings and what our kids are actually thinking, learning, and finding interesting.  So, I make myself present during times where I may be needed.  Not so much in their face, but often in the deep recesses of the background, keeping an eye and an ear out for a good time to talk.  This is certainly harder when it comes to ads on social media networks more so than television, which muddles the argument.


The best I can do is have the phones and the computers out in open space.  We have our own set of rules which work for us, as many of you probably do.  Computers remain on first floor.  Phones are handed in at bedtime.  We don’t allow Snapchat.  Are they enough?  Probably not.  Do I feel I could form an occupation of seeing what is happening on the internetz… Absolutely.


Now that I have this resolved, it brings to the forefront a new and bigger issue for me.  The actual NEWS and specifically, the case of the football players accused and found guilty of raping a 16-year old in Steubenville, Ohio (around the corner almost from where I live), and not only how wrong the overall crime is but the role that social media played in the crime.


To quote NBC NEWS, “this is a cautionary tale to those who have come of age in a social media age.”  This brings to light a much larger issue than the advertising on social media, but rather are we teaching our kids right from wrong?  Along with right from wrong when it comes to social media?


I think it is a question of first knowing right from wrong.  Yet this seems to also beg the question that flaunting wrong on social media, not only implicates the wrong-doing person but those who silently read/like/retweet the flaunting?


An obvious mistake for the teens found guilty in this case as social media was the evidence that really brought them down, however, where was the knowing right from wrong?


Again — more evidence that suggest to me – the open dialogue is missing?!?!?


[Image: Wikimedia]

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