“Good day little Street Soldier, is that your outfit for today? Yes, the fitted jeans that drop down to your knees, and those $250 pair of sneakers on your feet? I see a lot of finger twisting action on your Twitter – I’m not that disconnected – are those gang signs? Crips? Bloods? or some crew affiliation a little bit more local? If so, would you like for me to get you a gun to pose with, so you can complete that ‘action figure’ photo-op for the world to see?”
“Good day little Miss Stripper, by the look of your flicks on Instagram, you are not headed to school, I’m thinking maybe King of Diamonds, Sin City, or so. I’m not always right – so correct me if I’m wrong, but I doubt the dress code in your high school includes boy shorts, drag eye lashes, and that intense hue of pink lipstick, with that trashy video vixen weave. However, if your school includes that in their dress code Bible, tell the principal that you are not there to learn, you are just showing up because the Gentlemen’s Club doesn’t open up until late day.”
Pause. Cut the childish talk. Your children want to be grown, then talk to them like it. Show them how adults live with the mortgage payments and all.
Mommies, put the nail polish down – what are you doing? Are you so caught up in the social media gang yourself with your risque Rihanna-like nightlife photos, or ladies only weekend get-away flicks that you forgot to reality check the sickening and embarrassing entries in your children’s media portfolio?
Listen little parent-enablers - Don’t blame your children’s obnoxious, disrespectful, and tasteless profiles on ‘just being a teen’ or their interest in fashion design and stardom. Are you some type of agent or Public Relations parent on a promo run for your child? Supporting those type of social media actions show that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
Maybe your children don’t respect you enough, or have no concerns about the rules laid down in your household, if there are rules. Maybe your child sees you step out more to the club than into their bedrooms to go over homework assignments.
I see so many profiles where parents go overboard with branding their children as ‘lil divas.’ Are you hoping that The Gap will pick up your child for a campaign? How come I seldom see ‘courageous, focused, brilliant, inquisitive, progressive, or creative’ tags to describe your child and their future? It’s the same situation with sons who are ‘so fly and fresh.’ Stop raising self-centered children. Stop pushing that ‘my child is the best’ agenda. Because that ego is reflected on their profile pages. Being ‘fresh’ never saved any child from hitting the grave when they decided mommy and daddy couldn’t feed their fashion desires – so they turn to a hustlers blue print to get it.
See: Lil Poopy
As a parent, I strongly believe that children under 18 years old should not have the type of media power that I’m witnessing on the internet. I am a media professional. I am the Deputy Editor to the #1 destination for multicultural mothers and fathers seeking parenting news. I am wrapping up my Master’s in Media Studies. And I can tell you – if you DO NOT get a hold over the media’s influence on your children, you WILL lose control of those children. And you will end up fighting a war against deaf ears. Straight up, no chaser.
I am not an expert, just an observer, and a lot of our children’s behavior is reflective of our own parenting patterns.
Please be advised – by 16 years old, if not earlier, your children should be laying the groundwork for entrance into college or the job market. That’s based on school grades, extracurricular activities and so forth. Do you think recruiters aren’t looking and scanning profiles of your kids lifestyles, since teens love to be so public? Google is every investigators best friend.
Have you ever typed in your child’s name in the search bar to see what pops up? What might you find? Maybe YouTube clips of them cursing on the bus, or flipping off about who they got beef with? I bet you didn’t. But you should. Because I have found some not so family friendly profiles and statuses of my colleagues kids. Shoot, it could be my own, if I’m not paying attention.
I feel as concerned parents – you should be able to know your children’s social media profile names and what type of dialogue they are having. Don’t even talk about respecting your children’s privacy. When your children start paying their own bills, they will get all types of privacy – the federal mail concerning what they owe to a creditor. Their privacy are the bills they manage, once they move out. Under a household where there is a matriarch or patriarch or both – you are doing your child a serious disservice not keeping tabs, even if they are good kids. Good kids still get caught up. We see it all the time.
Don’t let Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, become the head of your household.
Konnecting with Kay is my column, so I’m speaking from my experience. I can’t tell you what to do in your house, but in my house ‘fashion’ is the least of my concerns. Take this Target sale item and stay warm my son. The only priority other than their basic social needs, shelter, and the rest of the life survival package should be school.
So who is to blame when your child thinks social media is a stage for them to perform on?
Blame yourself. Media has always been around. Stop blaming TV and the radio. Be accountable. Stop blaming Michael Jordan and his expensive sneakers. Blame the fact you coughed up $100 for toddler sneakers and now your child wants to continue on the ‘self-deserving’ path. I remember growing up in the 1990′s in Boston, MA. What ever I wanted – I created.
When I wanted fly jeans with shimmer – my mom copped the basic Levis and I got to work with beads and glitter in my room. I wanted $80.00 Converse, my mother made me earn that through my school work at Boston Latin School. And when I got them, I treasured them, because there weren’t any negotiations for another pair.There was no room to ask for more, because my mother made it clear in English, French, and Spanish – your focus isn’t your image, its your knowledge.
Look at a lot of these spoiled brats that have never been checked, now fully grown into savages. I have seen weed sessions, dusty tattoos, and sexual behaviors not acceptable for public viewing – by freshman in high school.
Let me give you a small case study:
A month ago, a close girlfriend of mine watched in confusion as her 18 year-old son came home from what appeared to be an altercation with some kids from his school. He was bruised up and a bit disheveled. Rather mum about the situation, he mentioned after much interrogation that he got into a scuffle, but was innocent in the whole situation. The flow of the conversation had a bystander touch. Like most parents, the idea of fighting in and out of itself is worrisome, but it does happen, so she went with his story. She tried to convince me over and over that her son was a victim. What she didn’t expect from this low key dust up was that her son’s issues were a lot bigger than his manipulative characteristics. What she found on Facebook left her speechless.
1. Photos with guns
2. Photos with drugs
3. Photos with gang members
3. Photos with adult women in compromising positions
5. Photos with stacks of cash
And the timelines traced to hours when he wasn’t even in school.
How would you handle seeing obnoxious photos on your child’s social media page?
Kay Konnect, Deputy Editor of MommyNoire and mom to a strong-willed toddler named Kannon Ball, holds a B.S with honors in Liberal Studies (self-designed focus) in The Art and Structure of Storytelling from Northeastern University, and is completing her M.A in Media Studies. She developed her Konnecting with Kay column after countless battles with childcare providers and her sons’ often unbearable temper tantrums. She realized it was important for her readers to connect with content that provoked thought and discussion. She also felt it was important to highlight the not so picture-perfect parenting journey. Kay has written extensively for Allhiphop.com, Mixtape Magazine and additional publishing outlets targeting the Hip Hop culture. Follow Kay Konnect @Kaykonnect and MommyNoire