Do your kids Skype or Face Time with friends?

I woke up Sunday morning to voices in my living room. It was about 8:30 a.m. so I wasn’t quite sure who was up and visiting at that hour so I went to investigate.

And what I found was my 9-year-old son talking through the iPad to a tired-looking dad and his son instructing the dad how to install “Portal 2” on their computer.

The child is in my son’s class and last week they started Skyping together after school. They proceeded to stay on Skye to play Portal 2 together after his dad got it installed.

My 9-year-old routinely Skypes with a friend up the street. They play Mincefraft on the PC while they talk via Skype on the iPad.  There is a lot of working together on goals in Minecraft.

(They use Skype instead of Face Time but I’m not sure why.)

The Skype seems much more invasive than just a phone call or text. It’s weird seeing people early in the morning. So far he’s only Skyped with people we know. I asked him about calling the little guy so early in the morning and my son said he had Skyped me an hour earlier so I felt better. I guess he had not intruded on their morning.

So my question is are your kids talking to friends on Skype and Face Time too? Are they working on projects together via these screens? Are you hearing voices in your house when you know you don’t have visitors?

39 comments Add your comment

grace

March 26th, 2013
5:27 am

good life comes to those who believe in God…Fct

motherjanegoose

March 26th, 2013
6:32 am

“It’s weird seeing people early in the morning.”

I see people lots of times before 8:30 a.m. and I am pretty sure others here do to. That comment made me laugh. I will see the vet shortly, as our dog is having surgery today. Hope all is well.

A

March 26th, 2013
6:51 am

8:30 is early in the morning? Guess I have a different definition of what’s considered “early” but no my child does not Skype or Facetime with friends. He has an old laptop in his room with restricted access to sites, but no communications with friends yet. Maybe in middle school. Many of us parents grew up in a time when it was a *huge* deal to have a phone in your room, so maybe it’s harder for us to allow elementary kids to be on a video chat without supervision.

homeschooler

March 26th, 2013
6:52 am

I know exactly what you mean, Theresa. I walked in my kitchen one morning in a pair of shorts and a bra. Walked right past my kitchen table where my daughter was sitting and realized she was face timing. Thank goodness she was just talking to my 12 yr old niece. You might normally see people at that time of the morning but not sitting in your kitchen suddenly and unexpectedly.
My kids don’t do it much. My son plays mine craft and messages friends via the computer.
I think there will need to be some rules set up for face timing or skyping in the future. Like, you have to let the household know you have someone on Skype or you have to have the computer camera aimed at you but towards a wall, not towards the room. I can foresee much embarrassment with this technology.
Personally I hate FaceTime and Skype AND texting. All take away the ability to multi task. You can talk on the phone and do other things. On FaceTime you feel tied to the computer.

Mayhem

March 26th, 2013
7:05 am

Youngest daughter, my social butterfly, face times all the time. I’ve done it a couple of times on my phone with the kids and hubs. It’s quite fun, but it takes a minute or two to get used to it…

Now,If I could just get my friends to face time…….or my parents….LOL

DB

March 26th, 2013
7:07 am

I think it’s kinda cool that Walsh was guiding his friend’s father through the intricacies of an installation! It’s just another form of communication — would you have been as perplexed if he had just been on the phone?

I have clients who like to Skype, and usually, we don’t need to, a phone call would work just as well (and better, in some cases.) I just figure it’s a shiny new toy, and either it will get easier (slow internet connections make it kinda annoying, sometimes), or more ubiquitous. I have it on my phone and my tablet, but not my main computer.

Sk8ing Momma

March 26th, 2013
7:17 am

Generally, no, my kids (almost 14yo daughter and 11yo son) do not Skype or Face Time. My daughter used to Face Time on occasion; however, she hasn’t in months. I’m not a huge fan of screen time so I’m perfectly fine with them not using either; however, my mother who lives on the other coast feels differently. She’d love for them to Skype more.

Personally, I loathe both. I don’t enjoy talking on the phone (read: can barely stand it), and the thought of “seeing” the person I’m talking to is just too much of a bother for me. When I’m home I want to enjoy my peace and quiet and privacy. If I’m going to have company, I want the real thing, i.e. someone to visit in flesh & blood.

homeschooler

March 26th, 2013
7:20 am

@ A…I would think most people would consider 8:30 early on a Sunday morning. Especially to have some stranger peering into your home. And I’d be pretty ticked off if a child called my home that early on a Sunday. (not saying Walsh did anything wrong since his friend had already called him but why did his friend call him at 7:30? WAY too early)
Also, what is wrong with having friends video chat “without supervision”? How is it different from talking on the play ground or talking on the phone? I’d much rather them be talking to friends than just playing on the computer.

southpaw

March 26th, 2013
7:25 am

HB

March 26th, 2013
7:30 am

Yes, 8:30 on a weekend morning inside your home, unless invited, is early. I’m always up by then but usually lounging around in PJs with coffee and the paper and not ready for unexpected people to look at me yet. I don’t FaceTime or video Skype often (use it for voice calls more), but do enjoy it for catching up with family. We are scattered around the country and tend to use it when we’re together in groups — for example, the Thanksgiving crew in DC will call the gathering in Georgia. I don’t use it as much for one-on-one calls.

FCM

March 26th, 2013
7:33 am

Eldest has skyped with her friend who lives in AZ. She sits back against a blank wall when she does it though. She usually just texts with folks though.

mother of 2

March 26th, 2013
7:54 am

Mine skype and facetime very little

Metro Coach

March 26th, 2013
8:02 am

The wife and I couldn’t make it home for my grandparents’ 50th anniversary(they didn’t have a big party, my other immediate family set up a surprise party at my g’parents’ house) and as part of the surprise we set up a Skype call so we could “be there” when they got home. We don’t use it often, but it is a great tool for communication, and as long as the dad TWG is speaking of didn’t mind being up to install the software, I think its a pretty innovative way for the kids to accomplish a task. Skype, Face Time, and all the other video chat services are the equivalent of what portable phones were years ago, an improvement on existing tech, some of you need to move into the current century.

A

March 26th, 2013
8:08 am

@homeschooler, I’m just thinking that if your child is on Skype or Facetime without supervision, they can easily switch over to other sites or apps that may or may not be appropriate. With an old-fashioned landline phone, all you’re doing is talking; with today’s mobile devices you can do so much more and we’re just cautious that our child is using tech responsibly and appropriately for his age.

Just Me Thinking...

March 26th, 2013
8:48 am

I think all of them are great, but like with anything internet based parents have to be careful. You think sexting is an issue. Imagine walking in and finding your kid watching what use to be a still shot of a class mate undressed(i.e. sexting) as live porn. Instant gratification. It happens even if we think it doesn’t. Kids will be kids after all. Teens will find a way.
This does not mean that all kids are bad. It just means parents and kids need to be more aware of possible pitfalls. It’s easier to convince someone to do something if you a looking at them and talking live.

Georgia

March 26th, 2013
8:50 am

Do you have to shave to Skype? Can you wear pajamas? A t-shirt with coffee stains? Can the other person really see you, or is a pixelated representation of what the computer thinks you should look like according to how you sound presented? What if the other person insists on playing strip poker? Then what? Look, I’m just not comfortable with this topic so lets move on to water boarding citizens based on rumors and insinuations from traitors.

Me

March 26th, 2013
8:51 am

My wife and I probably use Facetime and Skype more than the son. We especially like Facetime when one of us is traveling.

GET YOUR KID OUTSIDE....

March 26th, 2013
9:33 am

…”The child is in my son’s class and last week they started Skyping together after school. They proceeded to stay on Skye to play Portal 2 together ….My 9-year-old routinely Skypes with a friend up the street”

Are your kids too lazy to walk up the street?

jarvis

March 26th, 2013
9:38 am

How 2001 is this? I remember the big TV phones from that movie.

Science Fiction seemed to nail a lot of things, but the nano-sizing of everything seems to be what escaped their forethought.

Still waiting for a flying cars. 2015 isn’t far away.

jarvis

March 26th, 2013
9:40 am

@Homeschooler, that’s an interesting comment about multi-tasking. I find that’s the best thing about texting. You can do other things and reply when you have a minute.

homeschooler

March 26th, 2013
9:48 am

@ A. Well, that makes sense about being concerned about them switching to the internet. My kids each have an iPod touch. They are always doing things on it (texting, playing games taking pics) but I’m always looking over their shoulder. They are not on the internet very often. When my kids have face timed it was at my kitchen table with my laptop. We haven’t had a land line in years. Almost every phone/ iPod etc.. that we have has internet capabilities. I routinely check the older child’s activities because he is 12 and more likely to come across or be involved in something inappropriate. The younger one is 9, home schooled and she is my goody goody. She tells on everyone. I figure one day I’ll have to worry about her but not yet. The most concerning site she is ever on is instagram. My kids are always up under me. When they start disappearing in their rooms on their devices I might be worried.

homeschooler

March 26th, 2013
9:54 am

Yes, Jarvis. That’s because you’re a guy. I have way too much to say. :-) I also never have a minute. I can talk AND do something else. If I’m typing I’m just stuck typing. (like now as I’m procrastinating doing my taxes. If I was on the phone with you I could do both)
I get your point though because texting is awesome for quick conversations that don’t need a lot of detail. I’m all about texting to get information from one place to another but when it comes to meaningless, social conversations I’d rather be on the phone. These kids use texting and FaceTime just to chat and it’s SO annoying.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 26th, 2013
9:58 am

The Facetime has been AWESOME with my parents though. We are so far away and it’s great for them to be able to see the kids. They watched Lilina unwrap the birthday present they sent her. She read a book to them over FT — My dad wants Rose to sing for him over FT her chorus songs — He hasn;t quite convinced her to do that one yet–

It is very nice for the kids and my parents to be able to see each other.
I have to say that my mother always looks fantastic on FT. I’m not sure if this is a old tradition of never go out without your lipstick or what but I swear every time we call her she looks great.

FCM

March 26th, 2013
10:38 am

Unsupervised the tween/teen may go to sites you would rather they not. Mine did.

I had to leave my cell phone with oldest daughter for a time last year. I found pictures that told me what she was up too. I thought I had cleared them all out of the phone. I did end up with a better smart phone (my current one) and she was on limited access on a different phone and her iPod. I did not think much of it until a few weeks ago. I took the older phone up to the store to have her number put on it as her phone was so old and kaput.

I handed her the phone and she found some of those photos. She said OMG! What was I thinking, I was just so stupid to think this was ok. She sat and deleted everyone of the photos. It was funny to see how truly horrified she was now to have those sites in her history.

I am better at checking her history files and browsers. She is still on limited access (Parental Controls) on her phone –which she hates. She cannot Facebook or even listen to music unless I punch in a code (which I change every week). I recommended those control deals ($5/month with my carrier) and keep checking their histories.

FCM

March 26th, 2013
10:39 am

Oh, after what I found, I learned that half the neighborhood and all of our block got grounded. Apparently kids were telling other kids to googling some you tube thing knowing it would bring up something else first…All the parents checking histories found it about the same time. So talking with neighbors might be good too.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 26th, 2013
11:13 am

FCM — that’s a good topic for us — neighborhood communication — but when is it tattling? We had another situation — we’lluse that this week.

Mayhem

March 26th, 2013
11:42 am

@FCM – It appears to me that you have your kids on major lock down and you are very controlling with respect to their every move. If I didn’t know better, I would swear you are my SIL. She has GPS on both her kids phones, and checks them every 30 minutes to see if they are where they say they are, even the one in her 3rd year of college up in Dahlonega. On top of the GPS, she calls them at least 5 times a day, the first words out of her mouth “Where are you?”. If their answer doesn’t jive with their GPS, she will get in her car and go find them. Can you imagine being 22 years old and your mommy is still tracking your every move on GPS. When do you start trusting your kids?

I was talking about this to my mom this past weekend. I could NOT imagine her tracking me like my SIL does, nor would my Mom want to know my every move.. But then again, she trusted me. I very rarely lied to Mom.

motherjanegoose

March 26th, 2013
11:57 am

@ TWG…some people want to know what is going on and some do not. IF IT INVOLVES ME OR MY KIDS…I DO. Years ago, our neighbors across the street were on vacation for the week. I saw what I would describe as a PIMPMOBILE cruise slowly past their house several times. I rarely use the term and thought it odd. Not a car I recognized in our neighborhood. I mentioned it to the neighbors who had a key to there house and were getting their mail to be told, ” Mind your own business.” OOOOOKKKKKK! I would want someone to keep an eye on my house, if ANY car was scoping things out while I was out of town. Maybe just me!

Last week, a Great Dane was running through the yards. I had never seen him before. He was as big as a deer and probably harmless but I was concerned about those who leave their dogs out in the fenced yards, especially wireless. I went over to let them know, as I was worried the big dog might challenge their smaller dogs.

Just trying to keep my eyes open for potential problems.

FCM

March 26th, 2013
12:04 pm

@ Mayhem…the tween was 12 at the time. Is it controlling to want to know what a 12 or 13 yo is looking at on the internet? I put the Parental Lock on mostly b/c her grades dropped b/c she spent too much time doing stupid crap instead of homework. If that is controlling then I will plead guilty.

The phone does not have GPS on it. I cannot imagine that when they are in college I will be tracking them or their phones.

FCM

March 26th, 2013
12:09 pm

Oh and you start trusting them when they show they can obey the house rules without you reminding them. Then when they screw up (let their grades drop/have nasty photos on your computer) you inforce the consquences by putting up blocks. When they EARN the privledges back you can ease off again.

FCM

March 26th, 2013
12:09 pm

oops I should have said enforce.

motherjanegoose

March 26th, 2013
12:25 pm

@ FCM, while I do not know you, you seem reasonable with your children. Technology presents dangers that even I did not have to tackle when my kids were your kid’s age.

We have that GPS thing on all of our phones, especially after someone stole my son’s phone. I never look at it. My husband calls me sometimes and tells me where I am, laughing. I have nothing to hide. Our daughter was at a conference at the GA dome and we thought it would be helpful while she was there.

Each parent has to do what is right for their own kids. You do not get a do-over., This includes parents who meddle way too much. Their kids just want some freedom.

Sometimes, it is hard to know how much leash to give your kids. Easier to add more than to let them out there and then they get into trouble. So glad I made it through those days and we did not have any major calamities. Just blips on the radar like speeding tickets for my son and really nothing for my daughter. They are pretty much on their own now.

jmb

March 26th, 2013
2:27 pm

Did guys see the Rossen report on 20/20 where hackers can get into your computer with skype and spy on you when you’re home? That was creepy enough for me say no eyeballs in our house.

jmb

March 26th, 2013
2:28 pm

That was you guys….gee, is it 5 yet?

jarvis

March 26th, 2013
3:16 pm

Ha. Homeschooler, I was thinking the same thing as soon as I typed that.
Guys communicate in fewer words. We simply have less to say.

beth

March 26th, 2013
3:58 pm

We don’t facetime/skype… too invasive for me.

Becky

March 26th, 2013
4:11 pm

No, we don’t skype or face time…I’m sure that will happen within the next year or so as the kids get older..

@Mayhem..You might not have read this before, but I have a coworker that has a 23 year daughter and they call each other no less than 15-20 times per day..That is just during the work day.. Then when they talk, said coworker calls her Mom at home and repeats word for word what her and daughter said..When the daughter is on her way home from college (4hr drive) she has certain exits that she has to get off at and she has to call to tell her Mom what store she is stopping at and then calls back to tell her that she is back in the car..Coworker will ask her all sorts of stupid questions (IMO) like what did you eat for lunch, what was on your ham sandwich, what song is playing on the radio? On and on and most of this is all being spoken in baby talk..

She also has a 21 year old son that is going to be a police officer and he has to call her every day when he leaves for work and when he gets to work, which is less than 1/2 mile from their house..He has only driven on the interstate when she is in the car with him, as it’s to dangerous..

I could go on and on, but I’m sure that you get the picture.. :)

adnanali275

March 30th, 2013
1:37 pm

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