Thursday, February 22 , 2018, 3:52 am | Fair 36º

 
 
 
 

Louise Palanker: Internet Safety, Friends Think I’m Spoiled, Am I ‘The Other Girl’?

Question from Kendra

So, I fell in love with a guy online. I didn’t tell my family cause they would kill me. I’m 13 and I told him I was 15. He is 18. (My mental age is like 18. So in case you think I’m too young for all this, mentally, I’m not.)

I fell in love with him when he followed me on Instagram. He messaged me saying, “I couldn’t resist,” so I just said hi and we talked and flirted all night. I told him my school’s name and some other details.

After a few days I said I couldn’t do this any longer because we could never meet since my dad would disown me. (Reputation issues) I went through many sleepless nights missing him, but then he wrote and said that he knows my dad’s name. (My dad is a politician) So, I blocked this guy from EVERY possible social networking website, and NOW I miss him like anything! I can’t take it! I need him in my life!

Weezy

There is so much about this story that is terrifying. Let me start by saying that the No. 1 priority here is not your father’s reputation but your SAFETY.

The risk is not that you will be disowned or “killed” by your father, but that you will be exploited by a sexual predator. A guy on the Internet who says he is 18 but goes after 15 year olds is probably actually at least 30. When a 13 year old lies about her age, she is putting herself in tremendous danger.

You claim that your “mental” age is 18, but your emotional age may be closer to 11. You are certainly not making wise choices. You have allowed a grown man to learn way too much about you.

You have good intentions. You just want to be loved.

But not everyone in the world has motives that are this pure. There are predators who troll the Internet looking for young kids with no protections on their accounts. You should NEVER allow a stranger to chat with you privately. You have told him your school name! Do you understand how dangerously you are behaving?

You are not in love with him. You are in love with the idea of being loved. You will find that safely — in good time. Keep him blocked and out of your life and learn from this.

Please watch this:

(Brett Fletcher video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Michael

My friends tell me I’m spoiled. One of my best friends even yelled at me, saying how jealous he was and how I don’t deserve any of it.

Honestly, I don’t think I am. My parents give me some money for food, and I try to be nice and buy my friends food, but all they do is end up not thanking me and calling me spoiled. I don’t understand. But I am not spoiled.

Just because I live in a large family house. It’s no palace, but it’s pretty cool. I generally wear Hollister, Abercrombie, Aeropostale, American Eagle and New Look stuff, and I do own some more designer items such as Ray-Ban sunglasses. I have an iPhone 6, plus a Macbook Pro 17-inch 2.4 GHz 2GB RAM, iMac 24-inch 2.8 GHz 4GB RAM, Sony Bravia 52-inch, unlimited computer/cellphone usage, two iPod touches, iPad 3rd gen, PS3, Xbox One, some games, psvita, 3ds, two rats, one cat, three dogs, Amazon Kindle, iPod Nano 16 gb the 7th gen, couple mp3 players ... (lol. I don’t like them cuz they aren’t Apple brand), Beats By Dre $199 plus $20 warranty. I get $50 a week in allowance.

I am grateful when I get this stuff. I know my parents work hard for their money, and I know that in a few years I will have to do the same. I’m happy to pay them back but they say they would rather have me help around the house and be nice. How do I get my friends to stop calling me spoiled?

Weezy

I would define being “spoiled” as not appreciating what you have, never being happy with your possessions and always wanting more.

In fact, maybe we use the word spoiled to define a child who has been over indulged because, just as too much sunlight will pull moisture from the fruit, too many things will rob the child of his ability to appreciate anything.

I hope this is not what is happening to you. You took the time to list a lot of material items in your post. I am honestly not sure if you are asking if this collection of belongings makes you spoiled or if you are bragging. My view is that having these things does not make you spoiled. Going out of your way to let your friends (or me) know that you have them, does.

You do seem to understand that you will soon have to work hard for what you earn. Your parents know that instilling a good work ethic in you is far more important than you paying them back while you are still a minor child.

But their actions may be speaking more loudly than their words to you. In addition to your luxuries list, I am also troubled by your use of the words, “be nice,” in your last sentence.

Are your parents paying you to be nice? Are they buying you off?

It’s possible that some of your parents’ money personality is rubbing off on you. Our relationships with money can be complicated because money is never just money and it never just buys us goods and services. It is also thickly woven into the fabric of who we are as individuals and as a society.

Money can be used as a tool, a weapon, a blanket, a lure. It can represent all sorts of human emotions such as desire, fear, safety, love, etc. Before you even begin earning your own money, you want to be sure that you are not giving it more power than it could ever earn.

You may believe that you want to be a gracious, thoughtful and kind person, but it feels to me like you also see material goods as leverage. You may say that you don’t mean to be boastful around your friends, but I don’t believe you and, apparently, neither do they.

You should not be buying your friends food and expecting to be treated like a hero. They can buy their own food. If you wear designer clothing and sunglasses when your friends do not wear these things, then they will see that as you attempting to show off.

You can not flaunt all of these possessions and hope that you are not seen as spoiled. It is going to be one or the other. You say that you don’t understand. I think that you do.

Tone it down a lot. Let someone find out on his or her own that your family does well. Be a gentleman. What holds far more value than any of your things is your discretion. Learn that.

Work hard. Be a friend. Your dignity and your kindness are your most valuable currency.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Sally

The guy I like is two years older then me. He knows I like him and he likes me back. A few weeks ago he texted me saying he doesn’t want to hurt me but he’s going out with this girl, Miranda, because I am too young for him. He doesn’t want to take advantage of me.

We stayed just friends ... but we continue to text and flirt a lot. I mean, most of my friends don’t even talk to their boyfriends like that. I have to admit that it was fun and made me really happy. I know that he is a good guy. He says that I am his kryptonite.

So, is this cheating? Am I “the other girl”? I don’t want to be but I also really don’t want to stop talking to him. So what should I do? I’m 14 btw and he’s 16 ...

Weezy

He may be a good guy but he is behaving badly, and I’m afraid so are you. The two-year age gap (which is keeping you from dating) is not an excuse to flirt. In fact, he is using your age to use you. He knows that you are flattered by the attentions of an older boy.

Yes, you are “the other girl.” I know it’s exciting and tempting, and it makes you feel wanted and loved, but it is setting up some really bad habits. This infatuation is encouraging your brain to hard wire these feelings as love.

You deserve your own boyfriend and you don’t want to spend your life chasing the high you get when you catch the attention of somebody else’s guy.

Tell him  you can not flirt with him. It’s gone too far. You have too much respect for yourself and for his girlfriend to continue. Somebody is about to find these texts, and this will all blow up in your face. YOU are half of these exchanges. Stop now. Expect and accept so much more from and for yourself!

And here is more about that ...

(Everyone Is Gay video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (Family Band: The Cowsills Story is currently airing on Showtime Networks), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Our Place, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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