Deplorable Language Online

[deleted account] ( 29 moms have responded )

My 15 year old son repeatedly uses DEPLORABLE language on Twitter and in his text messages. I know teens will swear, and I could handle that. But this is language that is absolutely horrible. In addition to that, he also tweets extremely off-color, offensive and/or racist and hurtful "humorous" images. Again, I get teens can have a twisted sense of humor, but this crosses a line he shouldn't even be near. He has quite a few followers (over 1,000) and of them all, he is BY FAR the most offensive and foul-mouthed. We do not use this type of language or humor in our family, so he is absolutely not picking it up here at home.

We have been battling this issue for at least six months. I do not like "stalking" his Twitter, but I will do so until I feel comfortable that he is using it maturely and appropriately. It is a reflection on me, as his parent, when he is so offensive and vile and he does have followers whose families I am friends with. He has admitted to using the same language in his text messages and has even been caught sexting by a girl friend's father who read the messages. Again, I am horrified and feel it reflects poorly on both of us.

I have had conversations with him since he was old enough to use a cell phone on appropriate behavior but evidently they have meant nothing. When I have caught him in the past, he has lost his phone for a period of time, only to go right back to the same behavior once he thought I was no longer checking. The last time I caught him (about a month ago), he deactivated his Twitter account altogether. But as of a few days ago, he had opened a new Twitter account and sure enough... Same old horrible images and language. I took his phone again today with no intentions of returning it any time soon.

When I ask him why he keeps doing this, he blames Twitter. (Makes no sense!) I told him Twitter is not making you say those things, why don't you just keep your Twitter and clean up your language? No answer - he just had a complete fit, throwing things, calling me crazy, stalker, liar, etc. What more can I do? He does not have a computer, so the phone is it. But how can he ever earn my trust without opportunity? How long should I keep it? Why does he keep doing the same thing over and over? (Also, he does NOT swear in real life. He knows I would go all kinds of crazy on him if he did.) But I cannot stress enough how AWFUL his language is on Twitter... Just imagine the worst possible words and acts done to the innocent, or jokes about the most inappropriate topics. Please give me some suggestions! I am so tired of fighting this battle and feeling like I am getting nowhere. Where are his morals?!

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

[deleted account]

I'm sorry for being defensive, Shawnn. I suppose I was so frustrated and had "taken" (although not permanently) the phone again, I was hoping someone would have a magical answer! I'm so sorry!

Things are much better. I know better than to think this will last forever, but it is nice. I am amazed at the amount of QUALITY time we have been able to spend together just this week. It makes me wonder if the phone (and social media, technology, etc.) can actually make him unhappy without him even realizing it. I say that because he has seems lighter and happier, like a burden has been lifted, since he is not tethered to it all the time.

Lakota - posted on 06/11/2013

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Cathi, I don't think Shawnn was being judgmental. After reading your post, I was thinking something similar to what Shawnn posted.
I have two boys - 13 and 16. So, I have had my issues with my teenage boys too. I understand all the studies about the teenage brain and I remember what it was like to be a teen. That being said, I have never let my boys or myself use the excuse that "it is just normal teenage stuff" when they were disrespectful, got in trouble, did something foolish, etc. Your son knows exactly what he is doing. He enjoys doing it for whatever reason. He also knows that it isn't Twitter's fault, his friends fault, or your fault. It is his fault completely. He may be old enough for a phone in regards to his age, but, he isn't mature enough to handle it - he proved that to you when he continued the behavior and when he had his temper tantrum. You took it away once before and he abused your trust. Now you took it away again. Don't give it back to him until the start of the school year. How can he earn your trust without opportunity? You gave him many opportunities and he messed them up and didn't take you seriously while you talked to him about it and when you took it away the first time.

[deleted account]

I appreciate the reply even though it was not at all helpful, lol. You only restated my dilemma. I stated that: 1) He disregards my rule regarding using appropriate language online, 2) he threw a temper tantrum, 3) he has lost his phone. Perhaps you simply felt compelled to tell me - based on this issue - that he is "walking all over me"? I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you did not mean to come across as judgmental and were truly trying to help by simply repeating what I had already said. Thank you!

And for anyone else who may experience a similar issue with your teen, here is some ACTUAL advice that made an impression with my son, something that gave him a different perspective as to WHY this is so important. I researched online and found at least a dozen (there were many more) examples of young people losing scholarships, job opportunities and facing disciplinary action at school, all for things they had tweeted or posted elsewhere online. It was very eye-opening for him and he admitted to not realizing the possible ramifications.

I get that at 15, kid's brains are not mature enough to predict consequences (studies show that part of the brain doesn't fully mature until age 25 - which is why insurance rates typically drop at that age). I also get that teens are going to be disrespectful and test rules - I was one of those kids, myself. He will get an opportunity to try again at some point. As frustrating as it is, it would be silly of me to feel "walked all over" because he is being typical! Now, if I were just standing in the corner, crying and wringing my hands and doing nothing while he ran our home in all kinds of manners of disrespect - that would be a different story.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 06/10/2013

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"he doesn't have a computer so the phone is it"

He doesn't respect you, doesn't respect your rules and throws 2 yo temper tantrums when you approach him on acceptable behaviour.

Why, again, does he have the phone? My kids never even thought of something like that, and if they had, the phone would have been gone. Period. He's walking all over you

29 Comments

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Jodi - posted on 06/17/2013

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Whether you see it as a personal attack or not, they are off topic, Whitney, so they should be removed.

Jodi - posted on 06/17/2013

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In fairness to the OP, I have decided to remove and/or edit all of my posts that are off topic. I think that in fairness to the OP Whitney should do the same, and also remove any posts that personally attack any other member of the community.

[deleted account]

I understand that you disagree with everything I say, but please stop responding to anything I post if it is negative. I'm not looking to argue with someone. Whether or not you think so, the things you say come across argumentative and full of spite. This is the internet so I can not hear your tone of voice. Nor do I want to bicker with someone I don't even know. It's just plain stupid.

That is was I sent you in a private message. Wasn't rude in the least bit. Leave me alone.

Delaney - posted on 06/16/2013

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First of all, you have the right (as his mom) to make sure he is behaving, and being a mature adult. I agree with you when you say Twitter is not making him do these things, and he is the root cause. Good call on taking his phone, and "social-media-stalking" him, that's one thing parents should be doing anyway, making sure he is using social-media responsibly. One option is to only let him use Home-phone only, and have him permanently dis-activate his Twitter account. When my brother ran into the same problem with his 19 year old, he permanently deleted his sons Facebook (my nephew wasn't using Twitter), and checked his web-history often. He also blocked all social media sites from my nephews laptop and he was only allowed on the internet on the Home computer that was ALWAYS kept in the kitchen, and they checked that web-history every day. As for the texting thing, sexting is something that teens shouldnt be doing, so I would get him one of those phones that dont text, or stop paying for the date plan, make him do it. If worse commes to worse just take his phone, and dont give it back until he's moved out. Hope I helped!

[deleted account]

You saw something you disliked and went on the attack on multiple posts of mine. I'll just block you and save myself the trouble of dealing with people who use the internet to harass others.

Delaney - posted on 06/15/2013

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Okay, Jodi, please dont take that personaly, its just that I think both u and whitney have a responsability to act like mature people to other moms, honestly, I have seen lots of your comments and think you have a great aspect to most situations

[deleted account]

Jodi- Why are you following all my posts and commenting negatively? Please stop. It's kind of strange.

I think all children should take precaution. Having a cellphone is one of them. It's not that something will, but something could, so I want them to have access to something that could potentially save their lives if the situation were to come.

Jodi - posted on 06/14/2013

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I'm not sure where you are getting your information from, but not according to the FBI. The crime rate is currently the lowest since the 1960s. You cannot take the data from ONE YEAR of increases and conclude that statistically crime is on the increase. It doesn't work like that. I think if you investigated it properly, you would find that this was a single occurrence of increase. Using data from a single increase in the last 20 years to draw conclusions about assault rates increased is flawed logic.

And if I can say, plenty of crimes 50 years ago went unreported. In fact, it is now more acceptable to report crimes such as rape and domestic violence/assault that it was back then. I think you will find, when you properly read the studies into violent crime rates, the underreporting of crime is not a new thing.

http://leftcall.com/4557/u-s-crime-rates...
(you can also verify the information on that blog post with the data from the FBI if you want to take the time).

Ultimately, my children have gone out without credit on their phones. Meh. If you go through life believing something will happen to your child, you'd never let them set foot outside the door on their own. Having a mobile phone isn't going to save anyone from being assaulted.

But anyway, that's not what the OP asked anyway, so it's kind of irrelevant.

[deleted account]

Jodi- It is more dangerous and even if it was still the same, cellphones do have the capability to save lives in dangerous situations. Last year there was a 22% increase in assaults. Roughly half of violent crime isn't even reported. And knowing the things that go on, why in the world wouldn't you send your child out without a phone if they had one?

Wilma - posted on 06/14/2013

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I agree Jodi - the media is so over the top now and it streams constantly and every single issue is top news it sticks in our heads. I was 16 years old and it was 198..something not to date myself and was with a friend when a guy tried to attack me at the beach I got away but it happened and no cell phone to call the police or my mom. I saw other crap happen when I was younger - its just no one knew because CNN did not do live coverage constantly. It has Always been a dangerous world for women - its not fair nor is it right but its a fact and what makes it scarier today than yester- years is the internet. Creepos online looking to harm children. Its why I monitor my daughter online and I am not at all embarrassed to say I do it. It is not only my RIGHT as a parent it is my DUTY as a parent to see what my minor child is doing online and keep her safe. We cant put them in a bubble what we can do is do our best. The good thing about cell phones is they make our lives easier because we can contact our kids as long as they dont abuse the privilege of having one.

Jodi - posted on 06/14/2013

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Actually, there aren't statistics showing it is more dangerous now. It just seems that way because we have 24/7 media. Once upon a time, the same things happened, but the media wasn't all over it.

[deleted account]

There are statistics proving that it's a lot more dangerous now. I'm a younger woman and I live in a small town. I was walking not far from my house when it was dark outside and got stalked by guys in a truck who got out and my friend and I had to run. I've also been stalked in broad daylight with tons of people watching and had to run.

Wilma - posted on 06/13/2013

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true - i got her a pay as you go phone for that she can call me if she needs to but really after seeing her without a real phone for 3 months - they dont need a phone. we didnt have phones growing up and the world was dangerous 15 or 20 years ago too. I remember kidnappings and such happening.

[deleted account]

The reason I say just take texting is you shouldn't send your teenager out without a phone in case of emergencies. With the way the world is, it's not safe.

Wilma - posted on 06/13/2013

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OK - this is a huge problem ladies - I have 2 teens one is 14 almost 15 and I have NO issues facebook "monitoring" her she calls it stalking but the language they ALL use is absolutely despicable. I realize I am of a different generation although I am not that old but when I was a teen you did not swear in front of adults never in front of your mom. The girls greet each other on FB with comments - and I quote "what up bitch' "hows u ho" and thats the nice stuff. They drop F bombs like missiles from a plane and they call each other names. I get upset and she tells me its all in fun!!!????!! and I am so confused.
I did not remove the texting I took the whole phone!!! She has not had one for 3 months and wont until Sept. I have also gone in and switched passwords on her to let her know that I am watching and the worst of the worst - what she hates the most - I will COMMENT in a FB status so all her friends can see usually something to the affect of "language language" or " is that how a young lady should present herself"
I noticed it has gotten better - but it is NOT just my kid it is teens - period and I am not sure why it has gotten so bad
Anyway thats my vent - lol :)

[deleted account]

Cancel texting on his phone, take away internet and computer access until further notice. When you think he can handle it, give it back. But for every time he does it again, make the punishment longer than the time before. If he keeps doing it, then don't let him use the computer except for homework until he moves out and get's his own. Same thing with texting, till he is 18 and can pay for it on HIS own plan. Behavior like that is not acceptable.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 06/12/2013

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My eldest could care less, actually, whether he's got a phone or not....which I love.

But, not all are that way!

I'm glad he's doing well, though :-)

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 06/11/2013

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Cathi, my response was mainly pointed at WHY DOES HE STILL HAVE THE PHONE?

My kids are 19 & 16. I KNOW how teenage boys behave...LOL, I promise ;-)

But, it sounds like you're doing well now (isn't is awesome when they willingly spend time with the siblings?) good luck ;-)

Lakota - posted on 06/11/2013

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That plus side is awesome! He may not let you or your husband know, but, he is loving it too. That is so great.
Got to love the shock factor and teenage boys. I have heard that one before too. It looks like you are doing a great job, just frustrated. Enjoy the family time. He will remember those moments for a long time. Those moments are the ones that will shape him into the young man you want him to be, not the privilege of cell phone use. Keep your head up and great job!

[deleted account]

No house phone - I turned it off about a month ago actually. But he can ask to use mine. He will love that, I'm sure. He has only asked about when he will get it back once so far and I just told him I hadn't yet decided. I asked him again (after everyone had cooled off) why he felt the need to be that way on Twitter. Basically, what I took away from his long, rambling explanation, was that it's for shock value -that's the payoff. Because when he tweets something so totally out there, that no one else would dare, everyone would fave it or retweet it. I told him I just hoped it was worth it and he replied "No, ma'am, it wasn't." (I've heard that before.)

The plus side to all of this, is that he has been spending tons more time with the family and out of his room. It has been great... He helped cook dinner and played ping-pong with my husband for almost 2 hours just last night. He's been watching movies with us and going outside with his brother and having conversations with us. I don't just see the top of his head now. :)

Lakota - posted on 06/11/2013

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Waiting that long will be painful for him. But, it will drive home the fact that you won't put up with his disrespect for you, himself, and others that he is offending. He can still contact his friends at will. Do you have a house phone? If not, you could get one and he can use that only. My boys have forgotten that those exists.

[deleted account]

Thanks, Lakota. I think that's where I struggle is trying to decide (in this particular situation) when to let him have another opportunity. I think your advice is helpful, waiting until school starts will be painful - that's all summer without being able to contact his friends at will. I WANT him to be so miserable he won't do it again, and even though each offense has brought longer restrictions it obviously hasn't been long enough to make an impression.

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