“My kids would end up getting bullied if they weren’t on social media” – Claire Smith, mum of Charlie, 13, Lyra, 11, and seven-year-old Miller
Claire Smith knows all too well about not fitting in at school. When she was growing up her parents were so strict they banned her from watching the TV shows or reading the trendy magazines her friends were all talking about.
This is one of the reasons she allows her eldest two children, Charlie, 13, and Lyra, 11, to have more freedom and engage with social media.
She said: “They’re at an age now where all their friends are on social media, so I feel if I stop my two having it, they’d get picked on for not having it. I don’t want that. It’s just a way of the world and I hope I’ve taught my children how to use it properly. I’m a big Twitter fan, I have over 13,000 followers, so it would be a bit hypocritical to say they couldn’t use social media.”
Claire says she will regularly check her kids’ social media usage – which involves Instagram, Snapchat and Musicality – and had to step in when she found out Lyra had been fibbing to her friends on a few occasions.
“One time I saw that she told one of her friends about the whereabouts of her real dad,” revealed Claire, a stay-at-home mum from Bedfordshire. “As far as I know, her real dad lives at home with us and always has!”
Lyra said: “I don’t know why I decided to say that. It’s just a bit of fun. I wasn’t really thinking. I don’t mean it.”
Claire, 42, also had to step in when her son Charlie was the subject of a rude Snapchat photo that was circulated around by one of his friends.
She admitted: “One of Charlie’s friends drew a rude object [a penis] on a picture of him and sent it around on Snapchat. He was devastated and terrified everyone would see it. But that’s the way of the world we live in now, teasing and everything takes place online.”
Claire – who also has seven-year-old son Miller – found out because an upset Charlie had told her after he’d seen it go round on Snapchat and she had to speak to the parents of the boy who did. And although it took place out of school, Claire says the school was very good when dealing with it.
“They were great and made sure the image was deleted and not sent round again,” she said. “When it comes to social media, the schools are very involved especially if any online bullying takes place.”
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