First of all, I apologize for the title of this post, but I could not think of any that would encapsulate the situation.
I’m hoping that there is a parent or two out there with a similar experience that can help me by sharing what has worked or didn’t work for them.
First some background on the situation. And please forgive me for how long this might be, I’m not very good at explaining things.
My eleven your old daughter has been using Instagram for awhile now. Maybe for about 6 months. Even though, I realized we should have monitored this, we didn’t and she started to get depressed and doing things to hurt herself. We looked through her Instagram account and found that she’s been chatting with strangers, other kids that were also depressed and cutting themselves. She’s made several post from cartoons she’s made, something called Gacha Life, that shows her talking about how she hates herself and wishes she was dead. There’s also animations that contain a lot of cussing, violence and name calling.
We had temporarily taken away Instagram and got her into therapy. We made an agreement in therapy that she could start using Instagram, but only chat with friends she knows in real life and that I’d have to approve her post. But before we could get to that point i found that she’s been using another app that functions a lot like Instagram. Where she’s been posting more of her animations and even the ones I’ve disapproved of on another app called Funimate.
So to me she has broken the rules.
We did find that she was making post on YouTube that she didn’t tell us about, this was easily on and it seemed easier to maintain than something like Instagram.
So she sends a video to approve and I deny it. I told her I didn’t feel it was appropriate. I told her that I’ve also found that she’s been posting to Funimate and not having me approve anything and have uploaded videos there that I disapproved of and that I was not happy about it.
I told her that we would discuss all this in her next therapy session.
She got highly upset. She said I was not being fair. That we didn’t even say she couldn’t post on Funimate(I didn’t even know she had this app or what it was. ). and that nothing we are doing is helping her. That her friends on Instagram were the ones that helped. Said she was sorry to be such a disappointment and that she’s sorry she can’t be the happy person we’re trying to make her be.
My wife manages to calm her down.
So… I start doing research online and getting books to read about internet safety and raising children in this digital age. I find out that it’s federal law that you have to be 13 to have an online presence.
To me this is great news. This takes the pressure off of being the bad guy because now it’s the law and gives me more time to research the topic and teach her about the proper way to be online and manage social media.
But here’s the thing. She is dying to get back on Instagram. I already told her that she could in theropy. However she broke the rules and found another social media platform to continue to post on, although her argument is, we didn’t say anything about Funimate, I feel like she would have known what she was doing is wrong.
Despite all this, in my opinion, she has gotten a lot better and has made major improvements and has even stopped scratching herself (her form of self harm)
She also hasn’t shown anything with violence or self harm in her animations. And at first, I was fine with the cussing, but after researching the matter further, I am against this now. She’s never cussed in person before and is starting to cuss in front of me and my 7 year old.
So, I really hate to go back on my word and change what I said, but I’m really scared for her and I’m afraid of the situation itself. I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. At all. I feel like anything I’ll say or do will make matters worse for her unless I just give in and give her what she wants.
The thought that I might say something that makes her so upset she starts hurting herself again… I can’t even bare the thought.
I’m sort of learning about all this as I go, and things are changing.
So, for anyone with some experience, what, in your opinion is the best course of action?
I know she’s having a hard time, and I’m trying to be strong for her but I am so stressed out from all this.
Any help or feedback is appreciated.