Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What are your kids doing online?

This past weekend, I took the kids to the park and witnessed the following conversation between a Dad and his son. My guess is the kid was around 10....

Dad - "So that video you made was really cool... I like it"
Kid - "Yeah, my friends on YouTube thought it was cool too - they commented".
Dad - "You have a YouTube account?"
Kid - "Yeah Dad, everyone my age has one"
Dad - "I need to know your account info so I can keep an eye on what you are doing?'
Kid - "Why do I have to give you that - it's my account?"
Dad - "I just want to see what you are doing?"
Kid - "I am not comfortable with that..."
Dad - "We can talk about it more at home".

My guess, the conversation and the issues were forgotten by the time Dad loaded up the four kids and headed home. My guess also is the kid is on Facebook, and many other sites, and his parents are oblivious and haven't taken the time to monitor the situation.

As parents, we all need to know what are kids are doing online and monitor it. We should know who they are connecting with, and accounts they have opened. Here is a pledge a family member passed on to me that I utilize with my tween daughter. Feel free to copy and use as you see fit... It is our duty to protect out kids...
Online Safety Pledge

Keep this pledge at your computer.

I will not give out personal information such as my address, telephone number, parents' work address/telephone number, or the name and location of my school without my parents' permission.

I will tell my parents right away if I come across any information that makes me feel uncomfortable.

I will never agree to get together with someone I "meet" online without first checking with my parents. If my parents agree to the meeting, I will be sure that it is in a public place and bring my mother or father along.

I will never send a person my picture or anything else without first checking with my parents.

I will not respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make me feel uncomfortable. It is not my fault if I get a message like that. If I do I will tell my parents right away so that they can contact the online service.

I will talk with my parents so that we can set up rules for going online. We will decide upon the time of day that I can be online, the length of time I can be online, and appropriate areas for me to visit. I will not access other areas or break these rules without their permission.

Here are the passwords, screen names and other login information that I use for each online service:

Service name: _____________________
Login: _____________________
Password: _____________________
Screen Name: _____________________
Other: _____________________

Service name: _____________________
Login: _____________________
Password: _____________________
Screen Name: _____________________
Other: _____________________

Service name: _____________________
Login: _____________________
Password: _____________________
Screen Name: _____________________
Other: _____________________
Here are some great resources.


pcpandora said...

The bottom line is that if parents REALLY want to keep their kids safe online, they need to know what said kids are doing on the computer, and what is happening in their online lives. Blocks and filters are easy to get around, and talking alone will get you nowhere… (if you think your kids are going to tell you, honestly, everything they are doing online – you are a fool). Education is a great thing, and very necessary, but how can you consider yourself educated if you don’t know the simplest information – like what your kids are really doing. If you have monitoring software, like our PC Pandora (http://www.pcpandora.com), you will know everything they do and will be able to talk to them about it. If you aren’t monitoring and don’t know what they are really doing, how can you be sure they are safe? It’s not an issue of privacy (I have no idea where and when kids were granted endless privacy because they exist – in my day privacy was earned through trust and an established good behavior record), nor is it an issue of trust – it’s called being a 21st century parent. If you don’t know what your kids are doing online, you aren’t doing your job as a parent. If you aren’t monitoring what your kids do online and watch them, someone else will…

Hip Mom's Guide said...

Tim, This is good info & I appreciate the links. I completely agree that we need to know what our kids are doing online. We need to talk to them, teach them, and learn it ourselves if we're behind the curve. I think that's one reason so many moms and dads are really on Facebook. :)

Jules said...

Great reminders as we go forward with our boys - who LOVE the computer. We are always checking in, but to continue to be so diligent.

Heather T said...

Thank you for this, Tim. I think this generation of parents is no different from those who have preceded us -- there is always some new technology or danger that we need to be aware of.

One thing I insisted on with my older daughter is that she cannot have an online account if the terms of service of that account say she is underage. That means no myspace until she was 14, or facebook, no youtube accounts, and on and on.

We also have an agreement that if I try to log on to one of her accounts, including email, and find that the password is changed, I should assume this is because she is hiding something. I've never used this password knowledge to snoop into business that wasn't safety related, and she's never abused her online access.

Stelie Designs said...

This is great information. I am no where near this age yet, but I am already preparing myself.