Unsupervised kids and the internet are a bad combination. As a single mother it’s almost impossible to watch your child every second they are on the computer. Somehow, we must, until they are old enough to really understand the dangers it is our job to protect them from themselves.
Young girls do not understand that people are not always who they say they are, that boy from the next town they are chatting with may very well be a grown man preying on young girls. There are many ways to protect kids online, the biggest being keeping the computer in a common area and only allowing supervised use.
We all know that kids will find a way around the rules, that’s where things like key loggers come in handy. There are many programs that can be downloaded on your computer that will track where you kids go and what they say while they are there. These are good resources but nothing beats parental involvement.
Know who your kids talk to online, establish clear rules., For instance, one of our rules was that you can only talk to people you actually know and that I have met. Other than that, they can’t be your Facebook friends.
It’s important to protect our kids but a darker side is emerging as well. We need to help protect kids from each other. Cyber bullying is becoming a huge problem. Recently two girls, aged 12 and 13 were arrested for creating a fake Facebook profile of another girl and using it to send threatening messages to other kids.
This is a form of identity theft. Kids may think it is a joke and no different than gossiping in the school yard but it has very real consequences. Assuming someone else’s identity is a felony.
As parents we need to stop adults from hurting our children but we also need to supervise our children so they don’t use social media to hurt others.
There are so many tools at their disposal at such a young age, it’s important that we are involved and teach them how to use social media.
If you really are so busy that you can’t supervise your kids, take away the computer, cell phone and Ipod. Hailey hated when I had to do that but as a single mother sometimes I didn’t have enough hours in the day. Better to remove the danger than to hope that all goes well.