Keep Your Kids Safe on the Net Without Being Annoying
From Tips and Steps
You probably came here from another article that tells you to control and monitor your kids' internet usage like the Taliban. Well guess what? Why not read an article written by kid? You probably think this is going to be stupid, but why not just read on?
Do NOT install any netnanny/site blocker stuff. This software doesn't actually know what sites are inappropriate. The American Cancer society website is blocked because it says "breast" a few times on it. Think. Wouldn't you be pissed if your parents were blocking innocent, even helpful websites from you in the internet? I bet you would. So don't. If you can find ones that only block sites you choose like tubgirl and goatse and stuff, maybe pick that. But don't go too far as blocking games and networking. That's just annoying.
Instead of being nosy and reading through your kids' chat logs and blogs and myspaces, ask them what they're doing once in a while. If they seem suspicious (e.g., you find pornsites in their history), then you can be like that. But don't be a spy. Your kids will lose trust with you not only on the internet, but in real life too. They might not even talk to you anymore if you look at anything really personal.
Don't be shocked if your kid posts a couple swear words or says something mildly sexual (e.g., Billy is such a dick) on the Internet. If they're posting nudes or talking about their body, or being violent and threatening, THEN be concerned. You have to understand that they're kids and they talk just like this at school. In fact, you probably weren't completely innocent as a kid either, so don't act like you're any better than them. You've done your fair share of crap.
If they do say anything bad about you on the internet, you can ask them how they feel about you and see if they really do hate you, but only in really bad situations (e.g., "I want to slice off my mom's head, I think I will someday") should you actually bring up what they said and admit you were spying. Maybe if you learn why they don't like you, you could actually repair your relationship.
Don't convince them that all their online friends are pedophiles! What you DON'T understand is that the majority of friends they will make on the internet actually ARE real teenagers and preteens who will actually become great friends with them! Instead of telling them not to make friends on the net at all, ask them about their friends! They will probably be willing to talk about nearly everything they do when they hang out with their online friends. Only if their friends sound a little bit too friendly (e.g, asking them for pics) should you really be concerned.
You don't have to monitor everything they do! Chances are even when you spend every single valuable second of your life watching over their shoulder like you have nothing better to do (we know you actually do have other things to do) they will still do things you don't approve of. Maybe when they're away, flip through their history a tiny bit to see what they've been up to. That should be it for the snooping.
This article isn't saying: "Chillax! Let them watch porn and get kidnapped by pedophiles!". Summarize this, a general tip is to be concerned about only anything horribly inappropriate they do without being too controlling.
Once again, Myspace and Facebook are nothing to be concerned about. The truth is, as long as they avoid the chat rooms (few people do go on them anyways), the chances of meeting a pedophile are very, VERY low, since there are MILLIONS of people on myspace, and only about a couple hundred to about a thousand pedos on there. Unless your child has like, 1000 friends, hardly anyone will visit their profile either. I've been MySpacing for about a year and I've only had 1.4 thousand views and I only have 30 friends, all of which are either really funny, nice, and harmless, or bands who want publicity.
There ARE messed up people out there on the internet. Tell your child to be aware of that when he or she is adding friends and chatting.
Encourage your kid not to have an internet boyfriend/girlfriend if they hardly know them at all, (e.g., they go into a chatroom or log onto a MMORPG and someone says "hey ur hot, wanna go out") because that isn't a real relationship. Only if they know them for a long time and they are POSITIVE it isn't a jerk or a pedo should they ever accept an internet date.