The other day I was hanging out with some friends who have a fourteen year old son. As you might imagine, he was sitting on the couch glued to his computer playing whatever it is fourteen year old boys play these days. I don’t think he left the couch the entire four hours we were there.
Being the nosey, annoying friend of his mother’s that I am, I plopped down beside him and started asking him all sorts of inappropriate questions like “What are you playing?” and “Are those really what machine guns look like?” Then I started doing what kids really love… I started talking about him as if he wasn’t there.
Just out of curiosity, I asked his mother if she had placed any parent controls on his computer or monitors his online activity. She looked at me as if I was speaking in code, which, in a way, I suppose I was. She missed the cyber-bullying, cyber-predators, and tween sexting revolution by about five years. Also, her kid is a smart, kind, well-mannered boy so this stuff just isn’t on her radar.
But just because you trust your kid, you can’t trust the Internet. Not only do our children have unlimited access to information, the world (and all the people in it) has more access to our children than ever before. The information super-highway flows both ways… And where does this highway begin and end? The one place we think our children are the safest: at home.
WWLTV reported today that the FBI New Orleans Violent Task Force arrested a 48-year-old child predator with a bogus Facebook Page. It was for a bakery that bakes children’s birthday cakes–an easy way to identify and target potential victims.
Here are some more horrifying facts from uKnowKids.com:
And then there’s sexting, cyber-stalking and cyber-bullying…
uKnowKids.com is a social networking and mobile monitoring service that collects, analyzes and reports your child’s social online behavior and activities. It alerts you of suspicious “friending,” risky text messages, and pinpoints your child’s location at any time. I personally subscribe to uKnowLingo.com to keep me up-to-date with the de-evolution of the English language. My oldest is six but I know our time will come and I want to understand how kids communicate with each other via technology.
uKnowKids also offers some incredible FREE resources to help us navigate the world of digital parenting.