I’m sure you’ll agree, teenagers and social media are not a great mix. I don’t know what they get up to on their phones at that age, but with all the trolling and the ‘haters gonna hate’ mentality, it’s a brutal world online for a young, impressional teenager. Add into the mix the Autism (Aspergers) aspect and it can be a recipe for disaster.
For months and months, I was debating whether letting my daughter have social media on her phone was a good thing or not. Up until just before Christmas we’d had a few occasions where she was not using the phone appropriately.
This wasn’t anything really bad at the beginning, mainly over messaging people, declaring her undying love to her best friends (who aren’t actually her best friends) and asking people to say ‘ilysm’… (that’s ‘I Love You So Much’ to anyone not down with the lingo!).
However, Ellie had also put out a couple of posts asking if people would miss her ‘if she died’. This upset me so much, as not only is she opening up herself to piss take, but worse still, showing everyone how vulnerable she is and leaving herself wide open to bullying and, it’s too horrifying to think about, but also ‘grooming’.
I had a strong word with her about what doing this could result in with negative comments from people etc and asked if her friends write this sort of thing. Not surprisingly, the answer was NO. We had tears, apologies galore and an assurance that it wouldn’t happen again.
Well, guess what, it did happen again. Several times! Dressed up slightly differently but the tone was the same. Thankfully, I have friends with sensible children who keep an eye out and let them know if something like this goes out.
At Christmas time enough was enough. It didn’t seem to matter how many times I explained that she must not do this, it wasn’t going in… so the phone was taken away until further notice.
Things plodded along as they normally do (hormones plunging up and down like a rollercoaster) but without the phone Ellie got even obsessed with her other love… Coronation Street! Watching old episodes from the past, over and over! I’ve really not got a problem with this – maybe it’s her connection to my Mum (I’ve not watched it for a few years now since the Hayley cancer storyline). So most conversations at the start of the year involved the names Carla Conner and David & Kylie Platt… but if it keeps her happy and calm, I’m was going with it.
We got to the end of February and had a weekend away visiting friends over in Wales, so we decided that Ellie would be allowed her phone back (purely for selfish reasons – the ability to drink Gin in relative peace) with strict instructions not to post stuff on Instagram like she did before.
Well, we had a brilliant weekend away… a lot of Gin was consumed (there’s a drunk video somewhere on Facebook), George played with his two buddies and Ellie kept herself entertained on her phone.
Having said I would be checking her phone, I didn’t get around to doing it after our weekend away and it wasn’t until the following Friday that I got a phone call from a friend who had been given the heads up that Ellie was putting ‘what if I died’ messages on again.
We were devastated, and bloody fuming! I looked up her account on Instagram and saw what she had been putting. I went up to her room and frankly, lost my shit! More tears, more sorry (not sorry). The phone and the Kindle (which I’d forgotten had IG on) was taken away…. again!
All was going well until the following weekend when she had gotten devious. I’d asked a dozen times for Ellie to pick up her stuff on her bedroom floor, like you do when you have a messy teenager, and in the end I went up to make her bed and pick up her crap. On pulling back her duvet back, there was the bloody Kindle! WTF! Not only that, but she had been on IG, changed her username and continued using it. Sneaky cow!
Thinking that I would hit her where it hurts (not literally), but in terms of consequences, it was time to get real! I was going to take away… CORONATION STREET!… along with The Ingham Family (her other obsession). This meant a weeks TV ban in her room and no ‘Corrie’ or ‘Ifam’ downstairs. I also told her that if I caught her watching it,the ban would increase to two weeks, then three weeks!
In the end, the ban went on for four weeks! From sneaking the TV on, pinching her brother’s remote, and going through my drawers looking for her phone, the TV ended up coming off the wall! She literally had m no sense of consequence for her actions.
I suppose that’s how it is though. If you think teenagers think the world revolves around them, an Autistic teenager, well certainly mine, thinks the entire Universe begins and starts with them! If she wants to do something, then why shouldn’t she do it?!
So, four weeks without TV upstairs and no social media! Pure Hell? Actually no. It was really nice to have her company and the Easter holidays were so much calmer than any other holiday we’ve had, plus I didn’t have any conversations about how missed Deirdre Barlow is!
From last weekend, the four weeks were up! The phone reluctantly came back, but the only thing on it now is messages and YouTube so she can watch her Ingham Family. The parental lock has been put on and social media apps removed.
I felt a little mean doing this, but amazingly, Ellie has said that she is much happier not having Social Media in her life. I don’t know if this is lip service but I’m going with it. I just need to remember to check that bloody phone each night!
The ironic thing in all this, is that I have just completed a six month course to become a Social Media Manager, so its so hard for me to practice what I preach! I’ve constantly got my phone in my hand! Difference is, “this is for work”!! 😬🤥
Like with most things in life, it’s a case of do what I say, not do as I do!
I’m sure the social media will make its way back in the future, but for now, I’m loving her not having it!
Until next time,
Love and hugs xxx