I know what your daughter texts to my son. She’s sending (clothed) pictures and videos of herself. Did you know? She’s asking my son to kiss her at school. She alarmed me when I read her text that another boy is trying to hurt himself (I acted on that one and my son had already reached out to the boy to ensure he was safe). That said, most of their conversation is cute with emoji sprinkled throughout.
My son knows I can see his text messages. He told her as well – no one should think they have privacy if they don’t. He was complaining to her about it - but he knows the rules and he knows why too. He knows that I am his training-wheels into the world of digital dialogue. A world without tone and emotion, emoji notwithstanding. A world where a poor choice can cause you years of trouble.
Because I monitor my son’s text messages, I think he strives to be kind, appropriate and nicely funny. I think your daughters' and sons' feelings are much less likely to be accidently hurt because he’s thinking about the reader that he looks in the eye every morning and every night – me. He knows that he can talk with me about text-based peer pressure. Sometimes I bring it up – such as the concept that you only kiss someone when both you and the other person want to share a kiss – and that it should be private. Oh, and a gentleman never kisses and tells or talks about another person's body. Call me old fashioned.
I don’t plan to monitor his text messaging forever. All my kids understand that at any time, their parents can look at the phone and review their text history. And instagram. They will earn more privacy by showing judgment and responsibility. They know that too. Digital training wheels.
By the way, your daughter told my son that she's not allowed to date. I agree with you - sixth grade is too young (not sure how we stop in-school romances). But she's very curious about boys and that's normal. I hope you are reading her texts and talking to her too as she navigates this new, connected, world. Because I don't think everyone is reading their child's texts...