What's Wrong With Parents Teaching Their Kids That Not All Internet Content Is Good?

from the instead-of-spying-on-them? dept

It’s no secret that not all content online is good for kids to see — though, the “threats” have been greatly exaggerated. However, it doesn’t stop self-declared online child safety “experts” from giving terrible advice. For example, here’s an entire article based on the claims of one such expert claiming that, rather than teaching kids how to deal with stuff they might see online, the real answer is for parents to hover over their kids when they use the internet. This would be from the same expert who once suggested that the answer to cyberbullying was to have someone dress up as Spiderman and tell kids that cyberbullying was “bad” (very bad!). She also goes on (like others) to blame YouTube for making kids want to do bad stuff. The simple fact of the matter, however, is that it is not reasonable nor practical to monitor your kids’ every action online. Obviously, for very young children, it could make sense, but once they reach a certain age, it’s not going to happen. Yet, instead of hovering over them at all times, why not teach them some online street smarts — just as you would teach them to be safe when they walk outside alone? Teach kids that not everything online is good, and teach them how to be careful when they surf. In other words, don’t act like bad stuff will automatically kill them — but teach them how to deal with it so that when it inevitably does come up, they know can handle it.

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Comments on “What's Wrong With Parents Teaching Their Kids That Not All Internet Content Is Good?”

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Nebetsu (user link) says:

Blaming YouTube

You also have to consider the social networking suicide groups that have taken place in the past. These angry parents and deceptive news reporters are blaming Facebook and MySpace for giving the children the opportunity to create these these and not banning the group fast enough.

Vaughan is a company that makes hammers. It would be silly for Vaughan to be responsible if little Billy smashed little Timmy’s head open with one of their fine products. So why do people keep blaming the tool and the producer of the tool for the actions of the people using it for the not intended purpose?


Re: Blaming YouTube

Same reason they blame the gun and not the murderer or the mental health privacy laws that should have prevented the crazy from getting a weapon in the first place, it’s easier.
No real thinking required.

Combine fear + humans amazing ability to rationalize with being intellectually lazy and you can see how people come up with all types of complete bullshit masqueraded as “solutions” to problems.

teknosapien (profile) says:

My Kid

My Child has been on the internet since age 4 and is now 16. She has turned out pretty decent. I did however make her connect through a proxy server so that I could look at the logs and make sure where she went.. she was given rules and pretty much follows them. I think the biggest issue with children on the internet is the lack of good home based morality. If you teach you children well and maintain an open line of communications with them then there is no problem. The biggest problem with kids on the Net is parents looking for a scapegoat do to their failure as a parent. Just my thoughts but what do I know I Just have two very well adjusted children ages 25 and 16

Parenting (profile) says:

Re: My Kid

Here here. Set rules and boundaries, establish rewards for compliance, consequences for non-compliance, and monitor your child’s activities both online and off. I don’t fear my children’s use of the internet because we have established what is considered proper on-line behavior for them and anyone or thing they come into contact with in cyberspace. I monitor their activity and talk with them about what they are doing.

Does it work? You bet it does. A few months ago one of my children told me someone tried to get their name and contact information while they were in a chat area on AnimalPlanet. Not only did my child capture a log and tell me, but he also reported it to AnimalPlanet.

No ‘expert’ needed.

silentsteel (profile) says:

Re: The fear state of mind

Actually, I did not read that as criminal at all. I was under the impression that Mike was referring to anything a parent might find distateful. Whether I, or you, or society in general, agrees is beside the point. A parent’s job is to raise their child(ren). Most parents would prefer that their child know how to handle something like 2 girls, 1 cup responsibly. I myself have not chosen to look at it. I am sure after either of my children stumbled on it they would learn to keep an eye out for things like that. Or I can so them as best I know how as a technologically adept person how to navigate the internet based on the individual maturity level of the child.

nb says:

Cause for fear

You can see the same sort of thinking with regards to guns kept in households. The media pundits bemoan guns “left in the dresser” and how children kill each other playing with them. However 50 years and beyond in the past not many children killed each other playing with guns. What has changed? Guns are not a part of society that is explained and understood by children. There used to be target clubs in almost all highschools where gun handling was taught and followed for anyone interested until the late 70s.

Now guns are explained in our society by tv and movies as awesome abstractions which give power and only kill badguys in multitude and add momentary winces from anyone else. That a media that explains/frames such a simple tool so poorly can be little expected to do any better with a more complex subject.

Luckily parents who take the mystique and fun out of a gun by teaching it’s uses and make it a tool can do the same with the wilds of the web. Just the same as any child should have a thoughtful parental conversation about sex and guns the net and probably pornography is necessary given our societies direction is in order for any youngster.

Al says:

Re: Cause for fear

Finally someone else that remembers a sane period in life. I learned to shoot black powder rifles in a club when I was 8 and was taking lessons on marksmanship w/ 22 rifles in a basement firing range at a High School in Wyandotte, MI by the time I was 9 years old. I am not sorry to report that a few rabbits were killed in later years as a result of this training… they were tasty!

Mike (profile) says:

Re: yeah, tell people not to do something...

Yep, tell a child not to do something, and magically, they won’t do it! (After all, it works soooo well with adults…)

It’s not about telling them “not” to do something. It’s about letting them know that the internet isn’t an entirely safe place and what to do if they come across material that’s obviously not intended for kids.

The only ones saying the answer is banning kids from doing something are these so called “experts.”

Kim says:

I agree that making kids ‘surf’smart is the best method to help them. ‘Spying’ on them will only not help to build up trust and should only be used where there is serious concern.
I am concerned about these websites e.g. msn, bebo, stardoll etc etc and would like to suggest the use of an ’emergency button’ link to a child support website with an online advisory service. The ’emergency button’ could be given a standard symbol or be incorporated in internet explorer or another browser as a standard button.
The service should be provided by a government backed child support agency though – to ensure that it is not misused.


Brian_D says:

Any parent who has use the internet for more than a few hours should realize that the internet has some negative content JUST LIKE TV.

Good parents monitor their kids viewing habits whether it’s a tv screen or a computer screen. Bad parents just let their kids run wild them blame youtube if their kids ends up screwed up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:by Brian

I mean:

Any parent who has use the internet for more than a few hours should realize that the internet has some negative content JUST LIKE TV.

Good parents monitor their kids viewing habits whether it’s a tv screen or a computer screen. Bad parents just let their kids run wild them blame youtube if their kids ends up screwed up.

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