When should I monetize my child?

The  odd thing about watching The Social Network was how miserable the formation of Facebook seems to have made everyone. I had imagined that I would be watching a wildly optimistic world which mirrored the fun and energy that have attracted 500m to it.

Instead the film portrayed the network’s genesis as a series of battles between preppy students , their lawyers and the bankers and internet spivs wishing to get in on the act. Mark Zuckerberg‘s creation didn’t even give him a means of getting back in his old GF’s good books.

I watched the film with my 12 year old child. I stress the word “child”. He commented that it was unusual to see a film where there was no obvious goody.

My child has the virtues of being witty, pleasant and is a talented footballer and musician.

He uses social media on Iphone and Ipad-not always constructively, Already he has rendered my Ipad unusable by downloading various games involving catapulting chickens into castles and killing frogs.

He has run up a multi-thousand pound debt leaving his I-phone on worldwide roaming on a two week rugby tour of South Africa.

In his short social media career he has got himself thrown out of Club Penguin and Facebook.

Many of the frustrations that Mark Zuckerberg experienced building his network find parallels in my bringing up a family. I’ve determined to learn a little from these mistakes.

Zuckerberg’s genius as a programmer was matched by his determination not to sell out to advertisers or to use the parlance of the film “to monetize” his baby.

I am fortunate in not having to send my child down the mines or up a chimney just yet. However his revenue generating capabilities will be diminished by the impending cut in child benefit and I’ve got a good few years of school and university fees to come.

He has expressed a wish to become a journalist and claims he has his own blog (which I am not being given a link to).

What guidance can my readership give me (other than getting him to pay his own phone bills )

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen, Director of First Actuarial, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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2 Responses to When should I monetize my child?

  1. Great article Henry. I can only speak from experience but my two sons who are now 23 and 24, both started at the age of 15 (as soon as their NI numbers came through!) by doing a weekend job in a busy italian cafe for a real taskmaster of a boss. We always joked that if they could work for Gilda they’d be employable by anyone! Not only that but it taught them a whole host of life skills – clearing tables, washing up, being polite to the public, working to deadlines, how to make great cappuchinos! The concept of saving up for something sadly now seems alien to lots of children but we were, I suppose quite harsh with them. Now however, they both have great careers (neither work in the finance world) and have been independent for a few years now.

    My father, who was an Accountant, also had me earning my pocket money from the age of 13 by doing the wages for a client with a shop. So with my head stuck in tax and national insurance tables from an early age, and having to write out those brown envelope pay packets (remember them?) made me realise the value of money.

  2. Alison Davis says:

    Henry,

    On Ollie – I would say – child model. Definitely.

    And I loved the movie. Tell me, since when did you believe in good guys and bad guys? There were lots of relatively good guys each making a contribution in the way they knew best. I agree though that in general the gals are more good than the guys.

    Keep up the blogs.

    Alison

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