Thursday, January 26, 2006

Allow children on the internet

Daryl at Home Education & Other Stuff found a column by Elizabeth Foss. In the column Elizabeth warns against Her column is mostly about socialization, and the attraction children have to being popular. Elizabeth writes on how as parents we need to make sure our children don't get drawn into destructive behavior. (HomeSchoolBuzz also points to Elizabeth's column.)

Patricia Hunter is also concerned about and writes at Pollywog Creek Porch about some recent experience in checking out

In general the issue is when, how, and under what conditions do you allow your children to have access to the internet. The internet is a great resource, but parts of the internet are filthy cesspools. As parents we need to control the access our children have to the internet.

My wife and I have choosen to greatly limit the access our daughters have to the internet. This is largely because they are young and we don't see a great need for them to spend a lot of time on the internet. They are still mastering a lot of basics. As they move into the teenage years we'll give them more access. Currently we allow them access to a few specific sites with instructions not to go wandering. They are on computers in our office when other people are around.

As our daughters become teenagers we plan to open their access to the internet. I'm curious, what kind of guidelines and suggestions do other parents have for the useage of the internet by chidlren?

Update I (26 Jan 06)
I loved Karen's comment in response to Daryl's post which kind of got me started on this topic, Karen's comment:

"My husband and I have told our kids that every family has different rules, and our family has blocked myspace, not only because of the pornography and vulgarity that is too easily stumbled upon, but because if our kids have nothing better to do than look at pictures of themselves and their friends, who they see all the time anyway, we will find something more worthwhile for them to do."

Update II (28 Jan 06)
Dateline did a report on last night. I missed the show, but here are the transcripts. It slams pretty hard. The basic message is parents need to be paying attention to what their children are doing online.


Karl Smith said...


If I have children I will find it no problem at all to allow them on the internet. There is nothing special about that...


My opinion.
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adrienne said...

My daughter can only check her e-mail, and only open e-mail from people that she knows. I should say she is 13. She is very careful, she wants to be protected, she even came to once wondering if I would open up an e-mail sent to her by her grandmother, she was leery of the title "My Owner Is An Idiot". It turned out to only be silly pictures of pets whose owners had dressed them in silly costumes!

She does have a blog on TOS Homeschool Blogger, I check every entry before she posts it to make sure that she is not giving away personal information that she should not. We have not had any problems with inappropiatness with comments at HSB so far. I will not let my guard down though. It is my job to protect her, as best I can.

I do still have her come to me to put in an address for a website if she is not sure of what it is. She is only allowed to go to certain ones that I know are safe already.

COD said...

As I also commented in Daryl's comments, I think the author is way over reacting. MySpace is no different than Blogger - other than it is the hip place to blog right now, particularly for the teenbopper set.

Let's face it, the teenage girls posing half naked on their MySpace pages are the same girls that have already slept with the school football team. There is nothing new about any of this.

Henry Cate said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Henry Cate said...

COD said "There is nothing new about any of this."

Clearly human nature hasn’t changed in any fundamental way.

One of the things that changed is how easy it is for children to accidentally wander into aspects of life that we use to protect them from. The internet makes it very easy for children to accidentally be exposed to almost all facets of life.

For me the important point is as a parent I need to control the access my children have to the internet. I can't imagine letting a five year old drive a car. I would never let my nine year old hang out in a bar which gave free samples to everyone.

I don’t have any opinion about, for I haven’t really looked into it. But in the more general question, I think it is reasonable for parents to monitor and control children’s use of the internet.

As my children start having more access to the internet, I think I'll be close to what Adrienne is doing.