“I met a guy, Evan, and he’s going to show me his shower.”
These are not the words you want to hear come out of a twenty-three year old daughter’s mouth let alone a seven year olds’. I have two words for you… PARENTAL CONTROLS.
Yes… we clearly have a lack of them in our house. This has become clear as our daughter has begun to explain to us the ‘friends’ she has made on the computer programs she plays. FYI – for anyone out there who reads this and
believes we are obviously not watching what she is doing, let me correct that misconception. I have very set rules about the time she can be on the computer (no more than an hour); the places she can use it (doors always open); and the sites she can be on (I monitor and set controls).
Yet somehow she has found herself able to use the chat features on the sites I have made ‘kidsafe’. “Another one bites the dust,” I tell her; which she has no context for, but knows means that she is no longer allowed to play on that site.
On one site she proudly showed me the safety certificate she had earned for answering 100% of the questions right on an online safety quiz. Things like- Q: When should you give your password out? A: Never. Or Q: Your new online friend is probably a. really nice because she says so, b. rich because she gives me points presents all the time or c. I have no idea, she could be anyone. A: c
Not two moments later… after showing us her answer to that very real second question mind you, she introduced us to one of her ‘new friends’. When we said she was going to have to say goodbye because she wasn’t yet allowed
to have online friends she argued, “But my friend is really nice. She would never do anything bad.”
“Oh yeah… right…. And you know this how?” We spent some time that day talking about stranger danger and what we know or don’t know about people online. It was a good lesson learned for all of us.
The bottom line is that while we do our best to monitor her computer usage, the technology still seems to evade us. Sooo, I’d love to hear about your favorite user-friendly online safety control systems.
I promise to reply back with my gratitude; but, though I am sure you are a perfectly nice blog friend, don’t expect me to visit your online shower!
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