My son discovered his newest obsession - Minecraft. He would play it 18 hours a day if you let him. If you don't know what Minecraft is, it's a building game where the player can create homes and villages and more, with detailed features like vaulted ceilings, hot tubes and treasure chests. The weird thing is that the graphics are very crude - all blocks with few pixels. You can play the game in creative mode or survival mode. Survival mode includes evil characters, but more importantly, interactive play on the internet. Enter social media. He has "met" other players online with very little real interaction, but he looks for his "friends." He also has his real live friends join him remotely. Minecraft is not my favorite activity, mostly because of the YouTube videos where older players have live screen shots but commentary that may not be appropriate for children and tweens. However, if you can avoid YouTube and monitor Minecraft, it's not a bad activity.
When I bought my new cell phone, I had an extra one that my daughter immediately appropriated. Although it doesn't have phone service (like she wanted), it does have Wi-fi. Enter Instagram. Wow - who knew that a 9 year old with a private account could have such a good time! All her friends have Instagram accounts and they exchange some crazy pictures. Here's one special one:
I'm relieved to see that all her friends have private accounts too. It seems as if they can't take enough pictures, even the most mundane:
She does take some good pictures:
But best of all, she has discovered the art of using Instagram to tell the world what she's having for dinner:
I'm so proud of my children's accomplishments - they've discovered social media - in a safe and age appropriate way.