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Life In General

When We Were 14

I don’t know if it’s because our teenagers are boys, or if it’s just their personalities, but neither one has yet expressed a desire to be on social media. They both have smartphones (although with very limited wifi and no data), and they know their way around a computer for sure. But they haven’t once attempted to create a Facebook or Instagram account. And it’s probably for the best.

But I am friends with a few of their classmates online. Each of them friended or followed me years ago, long before any of them turned 13, the legal age for getting a Facebook account. And I’ve stayed online friends with each of them for one little reason. Not to interact with them, or because I’m friends with their moms.

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I’ve remained online friends with them for one simple reason: so that I could see what the world is like for my kids.

I have a backstage pass to the events that these kids choose to put out there. I’ve been able to read the class gossip and girl talk, and I’ve been able to do it undetected, for the most part. I’ve read about year-end trips, broken bones, homework, and summer adventures.

I’ve seen 14 year old girls raving about 50 Shades of Grey, I’ve watched a 12 year come out in real time, and I’ve silently cringed while reading status updates that proclaim to the world that “moms at work, im lonely, anybody wanna hang?” underneath pouty-faced reflections of faces in bathroom mirrors.

And now I’m seeing young girls posting pictures and memes that refer to how sexually skilled their boyfriends are. On one hand, I’m glad to have this window into the culture that my boys are growing up in, unfiltered except through the lens of social media. On the other hand, I’m starting to want to bury my head in the sand.

When we were 14, it was a different world. And it was far from perfect. But I can’t help but feel that there was more of a sense of innocence for longer.

When we were 14, men hitting women for pleasure (or for any reason!) was a terrible thing. When we were 14, we knew not to tell people we were home alone. When we were 14, we weren’t advertising ourselves with duck faces and cleavage.

When we were 14, you could find us climbing trees, or talking long into the night at sleepovers, or working at our weekend job, or babysitting for the neighbours, or talking on the phone with the phone cord stretched as far away from the kitchen as possible. You could find us wandering through the woods with our best friends, or staying up late reading, or finishing our chores, or trying our hardest to get out of doing whatever volunteer stuff our parents had signed us up for.

I love what technology can do for us, but I’m not so excited about what it’s doing to us.

It has opened up a whole new world to our kids, but it hasn’t held anything back.

And I wonder what it’s doing to this generation. Have we cut their childhood short? Have we taken away the enjoyment of life that innocence brings? Have we given them too much, too soon?

Is it even possible to avoid it? Or is inevitable?

Article written by:

Megan is a WAHM to 3 (and then some) kids, who spends the majority of her time working as an Administrative Assistant, blogging and washing dishes. She loves to write about her adventures in parenting, running a home daycare, adoption and whatever else strikes her fancy!

34 Comments

  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    My step son is 18 and has zero interest in social media. I think it’s because he’s a boy because he says all his friends that are girls are obsessed with FB, IG and Twitter.

  2. Alli

    Several young kids from our church friended me on FB & Instagram. Most of them post normal stuff. One of the kids is only 10 and I can’t believe my eyes when I see the suggestive poses she posts on her page. It makes me wonder if her parents even know (or care) what she’s doing. It’s terrifying!
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  3. Christy Maurer

    I think kids get way too much way to soon. My son doesn’t want a phone..he is 17 and is hardly even on Facebook. My daughter is 20 and only has a phone because of driving to college. She’s got no desire for a Smart Phone or the bill! Kids do NOT need phones or Facebook until their brains are mature enough, or their parents need to monitor them more closely.
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  4. Theresa

    I can’t imagine. My kids are so much younger. When they are 14, I hope things are different.
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  5. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    It’s a totally different world now. it’s inevitable – but only to a degree – that our kids will either see something or do something that makes us cringe. The most we can do is raise them to be good humans, and hope that it’s enough to curb the worst of the worst behavior.

  6. Diana Villa

    I think 14 is a difficult teenager age lol, I don’t want my daughter involve with technology or facebook until she is at least 18. Thanks for the great post 😀
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  7. Melissa Pezza

    The world is already so much more different than it was when I was 14. My oldest is only 6, and if this is what it’s like now, I shudder to think of what it could be like when she’s older. O_o
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  8. Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

    I’m not sure that it is ‘inevitable’, but kids do emulate what they see, if they see their parents constantly using social, they will too. It’s a matter of giving them balance and altneratives.
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  9. lisa

    My oldest is 11 and already has friends on social media. I am not ready for her to have a phone or social media account anytime soon!
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  10. touristmeetstraveler

    I have to agree that it is weird how a lot of kids are doing things at younger ages! I guess it’s just easier to access now and even easier to learn.

  11. Liz Mays

    It is way way different now! I think I actually use social media way more than my kids ever do.
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  12. Lyndsey Jones

    This is such a great post. I do agree that kids are exposed to a lot to early in life now. Being 14 is NOT what it was when I was 14 at all. It was a hard enough year for me without social media in the mix.
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  13. HilLesha

    I’m hoping that things will be different when my children are 14 years old. Being 14 now is way different than when I was 14!
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  14. Nancy (@spiffykerms)

    My (now 16 year old) nephew was on my facebook when he was younger (well, still is on it) and the status updates were so shocking to me. Some of them gave me goosebumps, lucky he feels comfortable enough to chat with me in person when I’m home visiting.
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  15. Uplifting Families

    I agree with you 100%. My daughter made a Facebook account and Instagram account behind our backs. She got busted both times for doing it. We are very careful when it comes to computer usage.

    I don’t give my kids smartphones either. They don’t need it until they are old enough to pay for it. They are allowed to text though.

    I have been through my daughter’s time line and it’s horrible what is posted. Kids don’t realize that social media can be used against them.
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  16. desirae young

    The world we live in now is totally different to when I was 14. I cannot believe the things young girls post daily on social media. Even outside of social media the clothing choices they wear. My husband would never let our daughter post those type of things or much less walk out the door like that.
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  17. Rebecca Swenor

    This is totally a great post indeed. I do believe our kids now days have it harder than we ever did as teens. It is almost like innocents being lost. I have to agree with you 100% about technology maybe hurting us. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Mistee Dawn

    These are all really great questions. I try to shield my daughter from all of this. But yet, I feel am being too overprotective. It can be a double edged sword.
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  19. Alyssa C

    My daughter has an iPod but it’s more for her games and music, she also takes the occasional “selfie”. I don’t think I’ll ever be ready for her to join Social Media sites.
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  20. Shaney Vijendranath

    Things have changed so much. It actually scares me. I’m not sure what to expect when my daughter grows up.
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  21. Jeanine

    My oldest will be 12 in September and everyone he knows is on social media. They are all obsessed with snapchat, kik and a virtual game called Robolox. I hope it changes soon, I limit screen time and social media is way monitored so hopefully it changes before my others grow up!

  22. Bree @ HalfPennyBlog

    It’s amazing that kids are saying things like that so young. However, I think it was brilliant of you to stay connected so that you had this little insight into your children’s world. It makes you better prepared for what could possibly happen.
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  23. Dogvills

    You are so right. Things were entirely different when we were 14 and summer for us means lots of outdoor activities with friends and neighbors. Nowadays, kids are in their rooms and using their smartphones or tablets.
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  24. Erin

    Oh, I hear you. My oldest is only 8 but we raise our kids the way we were raised. They’re not allowed to have social media accounts or cell phones. They have to play outside and be kids. I know that keeping them this way for a long time is impossible because of school and the world but for now, they are just kids.
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  25. Lynndee

    Your post made me nostalgic. We certainly weren’t techie then when we were 14. Now, my son could sit all they just staring at either his iPod or iPad. But he doesn’t have any social media accounts. Not yet anyway because he’s only 12. 🙂
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  26. CourtneyLynne

    It’s so weird to think kids live on the Internet these days! I’m not even that old and I couldn’t imagine being on social media as a kid! Instant messaging was the social media of my day lol

  27. Chubskulit Rose

    When I was 14, I didn’t even know that there are social media lol. It is for better that they don’t have account yet especially Facebook because there are stuff out there that isn’t approproate for them.
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  28. lisa @bitesforbabies

    It was completely another world! As a teacher of middle school I see things kids get into on a daily basis and although it’s scary it’s a good reminder for me to address these issues with my own kids from an early age!
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  29. Bonnie @ wemake7

    I think everything is so different for kids these days. That is great that your children have no interest in social accounts like that. There is so much crazy stuff I have seen on Facebook etc.

  30. ricci

    I am so glad that Facebook wasn’t around when I was in college. I can’t even imagine how hard it is for kids today!!
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  31. Kiwi

    Geez when we were 14 it was a more innocent time in a sense. It was over 10+ years ago for me so cell phones werent really a thing…we did have AOL chat but no photos and Google was just invented. The world started to change with the internet and 9/11 after I turned 15…thats when things got interesting.
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  32. Jessica Simms

    I’m 25 and have 4 kids (had my first son when I was 15) with the oldest being 8 and 9 years old, I’m actually afraid of what my kids will be growing up in. I spend my days teaching them good values and honest truths about life, so that when they finally do head out into the world they will have their heads on right and won’t make the same mistakes I made at 14.
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  33. Shannon Gurnee

    I’m 36 years old and the world is super different now than when I was 14. This is a great post.
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  34. Aisha Kristine Chong

    I am not sure I remember correctly but when I was 14 – I think beepers and mobile phones were a thing lol but I was never interested for some odd reasons.. I did have a computer and I like games though but nothing social of sort. To be honest, my parents never even allowed me to go out… for various reasons. I guess each parent is different. Like.. for me now, how could a lot of people expect youngsters to even spend time outside the indoor and computer when they have been over protected and had a habit not to leave the house – because his or her parents banned her for it – because they keep saying how scary the world is… blablablah, lol. So for me.. to go out and such was never an option from the start.. and it became a habit. While I cannot speak for everyone.. at the very least, the habit we develop during our young age – I believe has a big factor how are as we grow up and trust me.. I’m an adult now, I am allowed to go out yes.. but not to the point of spending my days outdoor if you know what I mean.

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