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#1 of 5 Old 06-18-2009, 12:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello to all the mothers here!
My Josh is 13, I'm a single mom. Lately I discovered that my son has been sneaking around to go online. In the house he is only allowed to use the computer until 10pm or sometimes 11pm. He was chatting with this older girl and some friends whom he met at myspace (that's what he told me). As a single mother who works 2 jobs and not around most often, I felt warned and I've lost track of him. I have reminded him many times about parenting safety tips from the net when going online especially with social networking sites. He got mad when I confronted him about sneaking to go online because he said I don't trust him. Am I overly protective of him now? Or I did the right thing? What can I do about this? Block websites?
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#2 of 5 Old 06-18-2009, 02:53 AM
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Well, my DS is not quite two yet..but I think if I were in your position I would not be happy with this situation! I do not think you are being overprotective. There are certainly things out there he could be exposed to online that would not be healthy for him or benefit him in any way. Plus I would be scared of child predators!

I am sure there are ways to block out certain websites. Maybe you can google it?

As for his reaction, when I was a teenager, I would always tell my parents they didn't trust me. But 9 times out of 10, they had reasons not to! I do think this is normal teen behaviour but I also think it's time to nip it in the bud and block some websites.

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#3 of 5 Old 06-18-2009, 03:52 AM
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Does he interact socially with people in real life too? If he has friends and people he hangs out with physically then it's not as much of an issue. He does need to realize that people can say they are anything online. The 14 year old girl he thinks he's talking to can really be a 40 year old man just 'pretending'. If your DS could understand/believe how fake online can be especially in chat rooms, that could make it safer for him.
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#4 of 5 Old 06-18-2009, 04:33 AM
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At thirteen years of age, you can have adult-like conversations with your child wherein there should be a mutual sense of respect. You can then ask your child to have a give and take by making you meet the friends he may be meeting online. There is too much anonymity and shady happenings in the virtual world but not everything there is bad so it pays to have a wide perspective.

I don't think blocking websites is a good move altogether. This will only increase his resentment and after all there are many ways to go online: through a friend, a rental cafe, and the list goes on.
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#5 of 5 Old 06-18-2009, 06:17 AM
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I just had this convo with my 10yo. He had gotten into the little game sites and such online (like Club Penguin) and came to me with a new one. Our house rules state that the sites have to be checked out before he goes on them, so definite thumbs up for him there. Anyhow, the game was NOT appropriate! Not only was it a MMORPG, but it was not meant for children and was not moderated well. He was crushed, to say the least and tried every con in the book:
-but all my friends get to play!
-I won't do anything bad!
-I'll be left out and I won't have any friends!
-You don't trust me!

So he got my answers:
-I love you, and I will help you stay safe online.
-I do trust you; I don't trust the rest of the players
-it's hard not to be able to join in. I understand that.

I don't think the solution lies with outright banning networking sites, just being selective and appropriate to the age. MMORPGs are not okay for a 10yo, for example.
I do think facebook, myspace, etc, are okay for a teen.....with ground rules. Ours would be that I have to know the password, the page has to be set to private, no identifying info/pics/etc., and only accept as 'friends' people he knows. Going around the rules would result in outright banning of the sites and a babysitter. Safety's not something we play around with here.
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