I've enjoyed reading some of the discussions here, found much of it helpful, and now would like to raise a topic that I'm dealing with now, as I'm curious about how others are approaching what has to be a common issue.
My kids are growing up - a 14 year old son and an 11 year old daughter. Over the years they have used our PC for a variety of activities, most of it pretty healthy, educational, or just fun. But they are now at ages where they might be more inclined to get into some online stuff that could lead to trouble, be it the extreme of predators, or some peer cyberbulling, porn, other potential embarrassing online incidents, or inappropriate relationships in general. There just are no boundaries, and yet I don't want to stifle all of the good that they get from the PC.
After some thought and talking with some friends, I decided to install some software (Family Cyber Alert) that will monitor all of the PC activity. I don't plan on snooping on private communications, but so far I feel good about just having greater visibility to what the kids are getting into. A couple nights a week when I'm catching up on e-mail or other matters with my PC, I'll quickly pull up this program and glance at what the kids have been doing online, how much time they are spending, etc.
My expectation is that when I see something I'm not familiar with or as comfortable with, I'll research it a bit (for example, I've taken the time to learn more about what Facebook is all about since it is a common teenage social forum), ask/talk to my kids about it, and if there are aspects of it which concern me, share those concerns with the kids - guide them, caution them, perhaps even establish new rules if certain activity could be more troublesome.
In this age of technology, with the savvy that kids have and I don't, I feel this is a reasonable tool for me to have to be sure I'm in a position to best guide and protect them, yet allow them to also have the advantages that PC and the Internet offer.
I'd love to hear what others think about this, how others approach this, what experiences have been. Thanks.