Fewer And Fewer Parents Freaking Out About Kids Chatting Online

from the good-things dept

If you look at the history of pop culture, there’s a pretty clear pattern that emerges: parents fear whatever “new” thing their kids are into, whether it’s “rock n roll” or video games or social networking. The fear boils up, even to the point of politicians pushing for laws to stop this horrible thing. But then, after a little while, parents realize the “new thing” they feared really isn’t so bad. So while we’re still seeing fear mongering reports about social networking, it appears that parents are increasingly comfortable with their kids chatting online using social networks or chat applications. That’s good, too, because studies have shown these things really are not particularly dangerous, and most kids are perfectly able to handle whatever minor dangers they might face. Have no fear, though, I’m sure parents will soon find some other new terrible thing that needs to be regulated… and politicians will happily oblige. And, in the meantime, since politicians are a bit slow on these things, don’t expect the laws against social networks to die down just yet either. There’s still plenty of grandstanding to be squeezed out of that lemon.

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Comments on “Fewer And Fewer Parents Freaking Out About Kids Chatting Online”

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Katie says:

Who need regulation

Technically speaking, communism is an economic system and is not bound to the notion of a strong central government (although such a system is generally so distasteful that such a government is needed to enforce the economic system).

The infamous “hippie communes” are an example of loosely governed but highly socialized systems, even though they were small compared to most governments (not to many tribal governments, however).

“Fascist” or “totalitarian” are more appropriate terms to use here, or perhaps the phrase “like a police state.”

That said, I agree entirely with the ethos of this sentiment. While the parents aren’t always to blame, they usually are. Parents tend to either exercise too much control (authoritarian parenting) or too little (libertarian parenting). The former tends to lead to violent rebellion, the latter to simply doing whatever one wants. Both result in the same thing: a problem.

Authoritative parenting is the happy middle ground that I was lucky enough to be raised under. Parents establish guidelines, have rules, but also allow kids to think for themselves and make their own decisions, with the parent(s) stepping in to provide guidance, reinforce good decisions, and prevent bad ones.

Anonymous Coward says:

Funny how we can all dish it out, but a lot of us can’t take it. We all want laws to regulate and control everyone around us to our advantage, but we don’t want any laws that affect our own personal freedoms. It is NOT and was NEVER our government’s job to use laws to try and enforce proper values on our children. That is the job of the parents, and far too many parents have not been doing their job lately.

And you’re right, the potential dangers have been over-hyped far too much. Honestly, I think a lot of the time kids are safer hanging out in online chat rooms from the safety of their homes than to go out with supposed friends and get into who knows what kind of mischief with no parents to supervise. That doesn’t mean I want kids to became fat, pale-skinned internet addicts who never get outside and do anything. I’m just saying that no matter who you are or what you do or where you go, there is always going to be danger lurking right around the corner in one way or another. The answer is not how some stupid law can regulate it, but how you plan for and deal with it on your own terms. That’s called responsibility, a trait too many people in today’s world have no concept of.

Rose M. Welch says:

Hey, don't blame us!

While there is a large proportion of Americans who want laws to reflect thier idea of protecting children, it’s not just the parents, or even most of the parents.

Most of the people I know with under-8 kids are pretty damn resentful of the gov’t sticking thier nose in our business.

My grandparents, however, fully support the banning of video games/movies/music/P2P anything to protect my children. (Thanks for your vote of confidence, Grandma.)

So blame your older generations, who still think that you can stick everything from video games to file-sharing to homosexuality in a box marked ‘Illegal’ and it will take us back to the 1950s.

The mordibly bright side is, in twenty years they’ll be dead and things will change.

dualboot says:

Online Chatting in First Grade...

I recently talked to a first grade teacher about how she integrates technology into her curriculum… and she TEACHES the kids how to chat. There is a safe environment set up at school for the kids to learn on, and she specifically teaches chat etiquette, responsibility, and appropriateness. The system in the school sends anything questionable through her for approval or to discard, but she says that the worst her students have said is the word breast… and it was in context of the type of chicken they had for dinner. She has also taught what they should do if anyone ever tries to convince them to meet anywhere, or asks them to do anything “adult.” Unfortunately, many parents don’t know as much about chatting as their kids, but I was pleased to hear that these things are being taught to 6 and 7 year old students, and that it is continued throughout the grades so that they will know how to deal with internet predators if they ever encounter that situation.

On the flip side, I think all parents should make a point to take a class that teaches them the technology their kids are using. Simply telling them they can’t use it won’t stop them… it’ll just make them sneakier. However, if you know how to monitor it, and can make some intelligent decisions about boundaries and expectations, you’re more likely to be able to make sure your kids stay out of trouble. Just like when I started dating… mom didn’t say I couldn’t… but she did lay down expectations that I would not stay out past curfew, and she got contact information for my date’s parents (at least 2 different phone numbers), as well as wrote down car model, description, and license plate number of whomever was driving. I (and my dates) were more responsible than if we had just snuck out… we knew she could track us down, and what she expected. (Friends who weren’t allowed to date became mysteriously pregnant and their parents never knew they snuck out the window until the belly got too big to ignore).

So, I say the internet is just like anything else… find out about it, set expectations and boundaries, and just be alert.

Anonymous Coward says:

as a former tech from the joke of best buy called geek squad. parents often came to me asking what programs they can use to block their kids from chatting online or going to websites they are not supposed to. i asked one question to the parents “Do your kids know more about computers then you do?” more often then not, the answer was yes. then i replied there is no software you can add to the computer to make it kid safe. the best thing you can do to protect your kids is education, talk to them, let them know your concerns, and the pros and cons of the internet chatting.

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