Re: what do you allow your 8 year old to do??
My DD2 will be 8 next month.
She has only ever had a very inexpensive camera.
Her bio dad asked my permission to buy her a Kindle Fire this past holiday. I consented with the caveat that he install all protected software and use it to see if it worked properly BEFORE she received it. She reads children's book and plays games (through Kindle Free-time, it is set to her age group). DH and I personally would not have spent that amount of money on a tablet for an 8 year old, but I totally respect him asking me first.
She is only allowed to watch limited television or DVDs and only under our supervision. No cable in this house.
She does NOT have a phone, nor will she anytime soon. I never got my first mobile phone until I was like 29 or 30, so I am sure that she will survive until I feel comfortable with her having one.
She wears whatever clothes we choose to buy for her. We take her taste into consideration to a point, but we absolutely refuse to buy anything not age appropriate or very expensive.
I cannot even fathom the prospect of a small child dating. We can discuss this on a maturity basis but not any sooner that 16-18.
IMHO, being permissive (in the negative sense of the word) with material things or behavior when parenting isn't really parenting at all. Sure there is a subset of kids who go on to thrive in spite of a near complete lack of boundaries growing up, but I would rather parent them in such a way that it would be the norm (barring any extraordinary conditions) for them to thrive.
My oldest two are NOW very appreciative of having had the strict mom who insisted on best effort and accountability in the context of being shown my love and support.