How R U?
How R U?
Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop

My son is on BBM. If you’re not sure what that is, it means BlackBerry Messenger, an easy way for us to chat using our phones. It’s certainly cheaper than texting, and it’s giving me some insights into his world.

I’d fretted a bit about getting him a phone like the one he has. Would he be safe? Would he be bullied? Stalked by internet monsters? Well, he does have several school friends as chat-mates, but they seem to be discussing quite mundane things, like computer games, Justin Bieber and soccer.

Having internet chat has made him chatty.

He says “goodnight” and “good morning” lots more than he used to, and he’s generous with his smiley faces, too.

I won’t tell you too much about what he says, because of imaginary son-dad privacy rules, but it’s fun to watch him developing this tentative personality.
He’s learning how to handle himself online, and that will be a skill which is pretty important these days.

The school has its own internal email which he uses, and he often goes online at the same time as his friends to play games. I’m careful to check that no one sends him weird messages.

On the one hand, I hope that he gets as much out of being online as I do, when he’s older, but then I hope he never encounters Bad Internet. The place where trolls, bullies and creeps hang out. I wish I could put some software in his brain to protect it against any invasions.

That’s parenting- Walking next to your kid and helping him, but then letting him have more freedom so that he can take his own strides in confidence.
For now, I’m happy to chat with him, proud that he’s got some friends to chat to and excited for him that he’s got such fun times ahead. The teens aren’t just a time of horror for parents (or kids), they can be awesome times of self-discovery and freedom.

I think I’m mostly glad he’s online. Of course, I’ll be completely screwed if he ever opens a blog to expose the truth about Growing Up.

Are your kids online? What steps have you taken to ensure their safety? Send us an email to and you could win a R250 voucher.

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