Internet Safety for Kids

Monday, June 12, 2006

Montgomery Newspapers - MySpace presents age-old parent-teen dilemma in a new light

The following is an excerpt from CentralBucksLife online publication by staff writer, Patrick Cobbs. I just wish to point out some viewpoints some teenagers have with regards to parental monitoring and control of their internet usage.

Montgomery Newspapers - MySpace presents age-old parent-teen dilemma in a new light: "'With the safety issue, again, I do think that parents should become more involved in what their children are doing,' said Amanda, an 18-year-old Pennridge student. 'They like to complain and groan about what their children are doing, but they aren't taking the action to protect them.'
Sarah, another Pennridge student, took a similar view.
'If you are worried about Internet predators getting to your kids then you should have talked to them starting at an early age and then kept on talking to them up until the present,' she said.
However, a certain balance was important; students did not especially want parents browsing their sites. They seemed to feel it was appropriate only if there was a legitimate reason to suspect that their child was in danger.
'Parents just clash with MySpace,' said Molly, a Pennridge High School student, by Email. 'If my parents couldn't trust me then it is acceptable for them to look at my MySpace, Email, etc. But because my parents would only look at it because of their curiosity, not worry for my well-being, it is not acceptable.'
In general, students reported using the Internet between 15 minutes and two or more hours each day, and most rated entertainment and social interaction as the most important reasons "

I believe that there are some important points to consider:

1) Talk to your children regularly about online bullies and other predatory incidences that they can expect on social networking sites such as myspace.com and others and chatrooms.

2) Install a good parental monitoring program since you can't be watching over their shoulder at every moment. The good programs will not only filter out bad sites but can filter out personal information that your children may be typing such as their home address, phone number and what school they attend.

3) Tell them the "rules" of the house. Be firm but gentle. There is a link within my guide that has a template contract to be used by families.

4) Respect your children's privacy but ensure the rules are kept.

5) Keep the computer and other entertainment media in a common room such as the kitchen.

6) Read the guide. There are alot of useful, free resources in the book and the guide is free.

Regards,
Victor Kimura

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