I Think It’s a Bad Idea.

The last time we allowed Dylan to use YouNow.com, he ended up on the phone, in less than an hour, with some complete stranger in New Jersey.

“But I blocked my number,” Dylan whined, when we told him it was not okay to call a complete stranger.

As parents, Bill and I can’t keep up with what sites my kids are on. As soon as Dylan was old enough to have a Facebook page, which I understood, he moved directly to Instagram, SnapChat and Vines. I got an Instagram account, and kept up with it for about two days. Then I got behind.

I’d never heard of YouNow, but we thought it was risky. We said he could try it – and then we had the New Jersey stranger incident. To say that we kaboshed YouNow quickly would be an understatement. We CRUSHED it. Immediately.

Then, tonight, Dylan was bored and wanted to take another stab at YouNow.com.

From what I can tell, YouNow is a forum for anyone, anywhere, to broadcast anything – LIVE. From what I can tell, it is almost exclusively teenagers behaving randomly, seeking attention. It doesn’t look like a positive way for my boy to voice his talents.

“I think it’s a bad idea,” I told him.

“But I know better now,” he said, “and I won’t give out my phone number or any other personal information. I won’t use my own name. I won’t even use my own voice!” (How he can pull off this stuff is beyond my intellectual capacity.)

“Dylan,” I said, “you are 14 years old now. You are going to do what you want to do, no matter what I say. I am telling you that I think this is a really stupid idea.”

“But can I do it?”

“I would rather you don’t do it. I don’t like it. I don’t like what happened last time.”

“But that won’t happen this time. I’ll be much more careful.”

“But you don’t know what will happen this time.”

“I do know! I’ll be way more careful. You can trust me.”

“I’m not worried about trusting you,” I said. “I am worried about the people in the world who I don’t know, and who I can NOT trust.”

“But I know about all of that,” he said, “and I will be really careful.”

My voice rose to record decibels over the course of our 35-minute argument. By the time it was over, I still had not definitively said “no” but I had voiced absolutely no assent.

“I THINK IT IS A REALLY STUPID IDEA!” I screeched, accomplishing nothing.

Eventually, I left the house to pick up a pizza. He continued the debate by calling me on my cell. Then, after I accidentally hung up on him – my phone is broken and randomly does this, I texted him:

Here is the bottom line. If you make immature and irresponsible decisions, we will be forced to treat you like a person who makes immature and irresponsible decisions. It is your choice.

When I came home with the pizza, Dylan and Shane were playing together – sweetly. Laughing. Having a ball.

Like nothing had ever happened.

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