Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Beware Internet Trespassing

When my oldest daughter turned 10, we bought her a computer and gave her Internet access. I thought we were so clever when I put AOL parental controls giving her access to sites geared towards 13 year old and younger..... With parental controls, I get a daily report of her surfing activity..and I thought okay no need to go and look over her shoulder occasionally she is doing great!
I noticed that my daughter was on the net a lot but I was not getting reports and I started to wonder.. During dinner one night I asked her where she went when she was searching the net.. She said she went to Webkins,, and You tube... You Tube????!! How are you getting on You Tube? That's a blocked site...Oh it's easy she said..I just go through Windows Explorer and I can go anywhere! I had no idea she could do that...I asked her how did you know you could do that..."Oh, my computer teacher showed me."
I sat down with my computer genius and went over the rules for the computer...
1. You Can Not Go On You Tube
2. You Can Not Use Windows Explorer - only use AOL
3. If there's a site you want to go on...ask me
A week or so later, I walked by my #1 daughter's room and heard music..her and my youngest were laughing their heads off.. I walked in and there before my eyes was You Tube!!! Both the girls turned around with the deer in the head light look...BUSTED. That day I took away the Internet... I tried to give it back a couple of times but I think the temptation of restricted sites was just too much for my loved ones to handle.
Today, when one of the kids need the Internet they can just go into my office which is right next to the family room which is right next to the bathroom...Which means they are not alone... I have been told many times by my preteen that I am overprotective. She has mentioned that her friends have My Space accounts and they go into chat rooms. "Who do they talk in the chat rooms?"I asked.. Oh they talk to friends and boys... I love the fact my daughter is still so open with me...because the next thing she tells me is that her friend met a boy in one of the chat rooms and that they were "hooking up" at the mall on Sunday... At first, I thought it was the adolescent imagination of a wishful twelve year old because what parent let's their twelve year old girl go to the mall alone?? Not mine that's for sure.. To be safe, I called the girl's mom and told her, chances are it's a story to impress the girls but I just wanted to be safe... The mom told me that she had plans to drop off her daughter at the mall on Sunday because she had to go into the office for a couple of hours.. I did not pass judgment even though I really wanted to say. "What are you thinking?" To be safe the mother told me that she'll have her daughter go with her friend..another twelve year old...Sure enough that Sunday a boy who was eighteen was there to "hookup" with the least that's what we heard through the grapevine.. Fact or Fiction? I don't know but I wouldn't take the chance..
The following notice came in my mailbox today:
California Cracks Down On Cyberbullies
It's a problem that is growing. Over 40 percent of all teenagers with Internet access have been bullied on-line in the past year, and only ten percent told a parent. And girls are much more likely to be the victims than boys, according to the National Crime Prevention Council. A new law will allow schools to suspend or, in some cases, even expel those found guilty of cyberbulling...
Unfortunately, the Internet brings the outside world right into our homes..into our kids rooms... I will continue to guard against that... We need to keep our kids safe.


Melinda said...

Good for you, Kelly!! I don't allow You Tube either, but have "busted" mine a couple of time already! Yep, I'm another bad mom that takes away the internet (and even any computer privileges) for awhile. Some of the things I've seen on the computer - - it can be a VERY scarey thing!!!

Crystall said...

Oh my gosh! I feel the same as you do. Luckily I have not reached this point in parenting, as my children are still much too young. However, I can only imagine! My husband will no doubt have some sort of lock on our computer the second my daughter even attempts to communicate with another human via the internet. It's extremely dangerous. And, really, I would never allow my 12 yr old daughter to go to the mall alone OR with a friend of the same age. Nope. Sorry. Maybe by the time she is that age, I will have matured a little as a parent, but if it were now, no.

Ali said...

That is so scary. I have caught my kids on you tube also. I have tried to lay down the law on that one. I think I might just lock my daughter up until she is 32 or so. :)

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