All Entries For internet
Technology is everywhere. Personal computers and smart phones grant us easy access to games, chatting forums, and countless threads of information that seep into every corner of our lives.
When we think of children's cyber safety, we most often think of monitoring Internet use on computers. And some parents do, though not enough. One study of teen Internet safety reported that 75% of teens said that their parents almost never monitor their use. Additionally, almost one-third of teens surveyed said their parents would disapprove of how they spend their time on the Internet.
Besides computers, other devices need monitoring, too. Kids and teens now chat, share pictures, and watch videos on cell phones and gaming systems. Downloaded games on smart phones and gaming devices often have a chat component within them—and these games can usually be played with random online ''buddies.''
What technology does your child have access to? What technology does your child have that allows others to have access TO your child? Do you trust blindly or monitor closely? Would your child know what to do if he came across inappropriate content or if someone asked her questions through a chat?
Recently, the playroom door in our house was closed. It is never closed, so it caught my attention. I opened it and my 7-year-old son, with his gaming device in hand, looked up with an ''Oh, no, I didn't expect you to walk into the room'' expression. Without thinking, I blurted out, ''Put your hands where I can see them and don't move!'' (Perhaps I need to cut back on TV.) I took his game and found that he was watching a video that was borderline inappropriate for his age—I would deem it ''okay,'' but only with adult explanation of its content. Unbeknownst to me, the system regularly gives the (child) user notifications and access to new games, music videos, and the like.
It became clear that a ''switch'' had turned on in his little brain, and he had to be monitored more closely than I'd realized. Read More ›
A few weeks ago, I was asked to talk to an eighth-grade health class about food and nutrition. During the school day, there were five periods of eighth grade health; each class contained about 25 students. I have worked with this age group before and was well aware of the diverse reactions I would encounter among typical 13 and 14 year olds. I knew that some would be very much interested in the topic, some would be defensive and defiant, others rude, and some just ''too cool'' to comment. But off I went, with my plastic food models, portion plates and sugar test tubes.
However, the reactions I experienced throughout the day were not what I expected. To make my point, here are just a few examples. (Trust me; the full list is much longer.) Read More ›
Technology, for its many upsides, also makes it easier for cruel kids to go way beyond mean. The best way to keep everybody safe amidst social networking sites and cell phones is for parents to learn some tough new tactics.
I work with a lot of amazing tweens and teens, and most of the time the good I witness more than compensates for the cruelty I also see happening among kids. But after the Phoebe Prince suicide in January 2010, I have to say, I hit a huge low. And then I found out that some of Phoebe's tormentors continued to ridicule her on Facebook after her death. That just sent me over the edge. All I could think was, "Have young people completely abandoned any sense of decency? Have they lost their minds?" What came up for me, also, as the mother of two boys only a few years younger than Phoebe, was anger at the bullies' parents. Honestly, how is it possible not to know your child is doing something that terrible? But as time passed I forced myself to remember how every day I meet moms and dads who try their best, only to learn, to their horror, that their child has knowingly and willingly participated in some form of abuse of a peer. Finger-pointing is easy—and solves nothing. Read More ›