15 yr old daughter lives on the internet!!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 03-23-2006, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is anyone else in this boat???

I have 4 children - 2, 6, 9 & 15 next month. We homeschool so my children have a lot of free time, which is good! BUT my nearly 15 yr old dd wants to spend all of her time on the computer, mostly in chat rooms. My husband and I see this mostly as a waste of time, but to her it is very important. We are trying to respect that what we consider important might not be what she considers important, but we really are starting to see addiction tendencies here.

SO, what rules do you all have for your teens with computer time? We've tried everything from X amount of time a day to complete freedom and almost everything in between. DD is constantly trying to sneak in more time (including at 4am!) and lies about the amount of time she spends on there.

I'd love to hear from other computer using teen moms! Thanks!!!!

to dh , dd 18 , dd 13 , ds 10 , & ds 6
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#2 of 24 Old 03-23-2006, 05:37 PM
 
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My dd is only 12, but we limit her to an hour a day. Also, I do look over her shoulder at random intervals. No need for them to stray into questionable areas, in my humble opinion.
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#3 of 24 Old 03-23-2006, 05:50 PM
 
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The sneaking would bother me more than the amount of time she spends on the internet. I suppose hanging out in chat rooms is no more a waste of time than the endless chatting on our phone we did as teenagers. however, it is a lot less safe.

but the lack of cooperation, respect for house rules and sneaking around would really tick me off. I would consider diconnecting the internet until she can respect the rules and has an improved attitude. of course this will be a sacrifice for everyone else also. Although it could be good. the internet is so addictive. definitely disconnect over night to stop the sneaking. perhaps password protect the connection. I know I can do that with mine. But yeah I would limit until her attitude improves. the computer time or desire for it wouldn't bother me but the attitude and sneaking would.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#4 of 24 Old 03-23-2006, 06:21 PM
 
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I would put a password on the computer and when she wants to log in you have to log in. Just make sure the password is a good one and she doesnt see you type it in
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#5 of 24 Old 03-23-2006, 06:40 PM
 
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I don't limit the amount of time she spends online (she is online All.The.Time just like yours is) but I DO require that she use the computer that is in the family part of the house. She is not allowed to use a computer in her room when she is online. I make a point of walking by frequently and sometimes ask her about who she is talking to etc. I also share with her news stories and real-life friend examples etc. about kids who share too much personal info online. Also, if she doesn't help around the house, get her homework done, and fulfill her other responsibilities I limit her time online until she gets them done. She has to use my log-in and password to get on the Internet so I simply change my password anytime I need to limit her access.

I am very open with her about what worries me about the chat rooms etc. I don't try to scare her, but I talk to her openly about the possibilities of things that could happen. I want her to know that I am interested and I care; but that I trust her to use good judgement.
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#6 of 24 Old 03-23-2006, 06:47 PM
 
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We only have a couple of rules.
No chat rooms.
You can only IM with people you know IRL.
The monitor is shut off at 8pm (this means NOONE gets on after that time, including us.)

Like a PP said, I think the sneaking on is a bigger issue than the amount of time she's spending on it.
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#7 of 24 Old 03-24-2006, 01:05 AM
 
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It's not just a waste of time, but dangerous!

I hope you have your/her computer in the kitchen or family room. If it is in one of those secure places where you can see her and have accsess to what she is saying and doing on there than I would be less worried about the time she spends online KWIM?
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#8 of 24 Old 03-24-2006, 01:23 AM
 
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Limit the time. You are the parent you are in charge. You can be on like from this time to this time, only x amount of time a day. We have aol so Kayla cannot go into chat rooms or get im's from those she doesnt know. I also get a report from aol of who imed her, how long they spoke and what website she went too.
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#9 of 24 Old 03-24-2006, 05:53 AM
 
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Onc or twice my dad took the keyboard fomr me and kept it in his room.

Made going on the internet pretyhard. XD

Just disconnect the mouse and keyboard and take it to bed with you. Then you don't have to go thru the (sometimes expensive) disconnecting and reconnecting of the internet (if yuo have dsl.cable)
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#10 of 24 Old 03-24-2006, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for all the great suggestions, everyone!

We do have the computer in the kitchen. She used to do more "innocent" things like horse roll playing sites and such. But now it's all about chat rooms! It's hard because this isn't something I went through as a child so I can't relate.

True, I talked on the phone A LOT, but it was to people I knew! She doesn't know these people in chat rooms, yet she's building relationships with them. People in chat rooms start revealing things about themselves that you wouldn't normally tell a stranger, or maybe even a friend.

DH and I talked that we really need to get more involved, find out exactly who she's talking to and what about. She's always been very good and trustworthy, but having limits on the computer lead to lying and sneaking, and that has been very upsetting to us. :

I LOVE the idea of taking the mouse to bed. There are so many good ideas that DH and I are mulling over. Thanks again. And keep sending ideas!!!

to dh , dd 18 , dd 13 , ds 10 , & ds 6
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#11 of 24 Old 03-25-2006, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just need to change my subscription status to not get emails. My DD is back from a trip with her cousin and don't want her to accidentally see my emails. Thanks again everyone!

to dh , dd 18 , dd 13 , ds 10 , & ds 6
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#12 of 24 Old 03-25-2006, 09:10 PM
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I like to go by is it "reasonable" and is it in balance. It can be just about anything. I personally find it unreasonable for my dd, age 12, to spend more than an hour or two on her computer a day. It's light out at 9:00 in my house. I also make sure she has enough going on in real life. Maybe if you can strike some deal where she is limited to X number of minutes/hours during the week and can go crazy on a friday night. The other thing that concerns alot of us is who the heck are they chatting with til all hours in teh night? I think the computer out in a living room is a good idea. Really I think the main idea is to keep things in moderation and connected to real life...
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#13 of 24 Old 03-25-2006, 10:00 PM
 
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Dunno about the taking the mouse/keyboard away at night thing tho. Esp. if she is being "sneaky". After all the generic ones are cheap, and all she has to do is buy her own and swap them in when you take the others away (and you will have a false sense of security and not be listening out for her).
I don't have anything near a teen yet, so maybe this is just foolishly idealistic on my part, but what about talking with her about the chat rooms, engaging her and getting her to talk about her online "friends". Even second hand you might be able to guage them better than she would. It's basically what you might have to do anyway if she went to school, to get her to talk about her school day, so there are probably lots of techniques discussed here.

nothing more to say I guess :
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#14 of 24 Old 03-26-2006, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Calidris and iamthesmilingone, you are both so right. Just talking to her about these chat room friends just as we'd talk to her about her day at school is a must. And this is exactly what dh and I have been saying we need to start doing. We have had discussions about moderation and addiction with her, but she still isn't able to control herself. We are going to need to go back to serious limits.

When the sneaking and lying happened, she was grounded from the computer for 2 weeks. She has been MUCH more respectful of our guidelines since then!

DD is already quite a hermit. She's always enjoyed (even when in school) being alone - not at all a social butterfly - very much an introvert! So it really makes me uncomfortable how comfortably she "chats" online. But she has a hard time "chatting" with real live people! She is in a teen homeschool group which she loves, a regular homeschool group, and she takes a community college class. But her online chatting seems to be the most important to her. Makes a mama sad!

What I keep going back to is if we control and limit her too much, what she'll do when she's on her own. I guess there's no way of knowing. You know, the forbidden fruit thing. What I want for her is to have a strong sense of self and have good self moderation. She's excellent with that with food (much better than I am)! But she has a ways to go in the internet department.

Thanks so much for listening and sharing. I'm beginning to feel better.

to dh , dd 18 , dd 13 , ds 10 , & ds 6
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#15 of 24 Old 03-26-2006, 06:39 PM
 
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My 13yo spends a lot of time on-line too. One thing that bothers me about young people on chat rooms and Myspace is the amount of talking about sex that goes on. The prevailing attitude is that sex is a party we should all wish we were invited to. People say things that they would never say to someone face-to-face. It rushes some things that shouldn't be rushed--IMHO. Like others have suggested, we have the computer in a central room of the house. I walk by every so often and casually ask her about what she's doing, just like I would show an interest in a book she's reading.

I do not like to put arbitrary limits on things. But we do discourage computer use of more than 2 hours a day. More than that and it starts to take away from other things.
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#16 of 24 Old 03-26-2006, 08:27 PM
 
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ladybugmama, I think it's great that you are getting more involved with knowing who she is talking to online...it is far too easy for teens to think that they know exactly who they are talking to when often enough they are talking to someone who isn't who they claim to be, and in worst cases, they could be a sexual predator specifically looking for a 13yo girl...but hopefully that isn't the case.

Have you added a link to www.cybertipline.com to your bookmarks? It's a great site to have on hand when a conversation gets out of hand and you need to report someone who is trying to contact your daughter...
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#17 of 24 Old 03-26-2006, 08:40 PM
 
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If my child started spending time in chatrooms, I'd get on another computer and join the chatroom while she's there!

If that's not an option (I'm not sure how many computers you have or what kind of internet connection you have) then talk to her about what she chats about and remind her of basic internet safety: no sharing of identifying personal information with somebody unless a parent says its OK.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#18 of 24 Old 03-27-2006, 12:01 AM
 
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My dh does computers for a living. We have 4 in our house connected to the internet. All the computers have User logins and Passwords. I can't get on my dh's computer and he can't get on mine. This is part of our inhouse network server.
The computer in our oldest son's room is not connected to the internet and there is no way for him to do so at this time (we are on an inhouse network requiring network cards).
3rd party software would give you some of these features without having to have a complex hardware network like we've got. He said you should be able to find something that would lock users out at certains times.
The sneaking would bother me the most as well.
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#19 of 24 Old 03-29-2006, 06:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnysideup
My 13yo spends a lot of time on-line too. One thing that bothers me about young people on chat rooms and Myspace is the amount of talking about sex that goes on. The prevailing attitude is that sex is a party we should all wish we were invited to. People say things that they would never say to someone face-to-face. It rushes some things that shouldn't be rushed--IMHO. Like others have suggested, we have the computer in a central room of the house. I walk by every so often and casually ask her about what she's doing, just like I would show an interest in a book she's reading.

I do not like to put arbitrary limits on things. But we do discourage computer use of more than 2 hours a day. More than that and it starts to take away from other things.
I beleive that a certain amount of disscussion of sexuality between teens starting at about 12/13, amongst their peers is healthy. It may disturb us as females, but we also need to realize that the male hormones rage at the onset of puberty and it doesnt quit for a long time. Its difficult at best to corral these feelings, and its dangerous to bottle them up. I would much rather my son be chatting online wiht his peers about sex, than going out somewhere and actually DOING it. Children have questions about their bodies and I do not beleive that sexuality should be hidden from children.


Now.. for the OP.

Daniel has free reign on the internet with a few conditions.

#1 he uses a Mac and we have the administrator account on his computer, my DH is a computer expert so he has logging setup which keeps a 48 hour record of every webpage or file transfered. We do not look over this but we keep it for safty. He knows that we _CAN_ look over this history if we want. The knowledge that what he does is logged and can be looked at I think keeps him in moderate check.

#2 ALL of his homework must be done before he turns on the computer.

#3 He must spent atleast 5 hours a week studying school work of any subject. (This will increase to 10 hours when he goes into HS in a year and a half)

#4 He takes his bath at 8:30, is in bed by 9 and he can be on until 10:30-11 but he has to be 'IN BED'. It is supposed to be 10pm, but we do not enforce this rule as long as he is not falling asleep in school or is unruly to get out of bed in the morning.

#5 If he comes across a website that he knows he should not be looking at, if he feels that he might get in trouble if we saw it in the log, that he comes to us and talks to us about it. Sex, Pornography, Drugs, school cheating, etc, we have ran into it all and he's brought it up to us. And we never hold it against him for coming to us about it.
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#20 of 24 Old 03-29-2006, 09:11 PM
 
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my kids do not get on the computer without asking first and they do not go into chat rooms or do instant messaging. When they want to get on the computer I always ask them why they need to get on it. It is also out in an open area so that they can be watched at any time. I trust my kids but do not trust other people that they may have contact with if that makes sense. My oldest (16) gets on the computer for maybe an hour a night to look up car parts or download music for his MP3 player... my 10 year old likes to look up xbox codes or play at Nickelodeon.. my daughter likes to read the blogs of our friends and family members... I am not a strict parent I dont think but I do watch out for my kids safety where ever they may be... if that makes any sense....
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#21 of 24 Old 03-29-2006, 10:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akrab
my kids do not get on the computer without asking first and they do not go into chat rooms or do instant messaging. When they want to get on the computer I always ask them why they need to get on it. It is also out in an open area so that they can be watched at any time. I trust my kids but do not trust other people that they may have contact with if that makes sense. My oldest (16) gets on the computer for maybe an hour a night to look up car parts or download music for his MP3 player... my 10 year old likes to look up xbox codes or play at Nickelodeon.. my daughter likes to read the blogs of our friends and family members... I am not a strict parent I dont think but I do watch out for my kids safety where ever they may be... if that makes any sense....
Well, Would you insist that your kids sit in the livingroom to chat with their friends from school everytime they visit? To me that is the same thing. I trust my son well enough that he knows right from wrong, and if someone is tring to get him to do wrong things on the internet that he blocks them. Instant messenger is a wonderful thing, we have over 30 member of our family that utilize it and its a primary means of keeping in touch. I hope you will reconsider and encourage your children to use such means of keeping in touch with distant members of family and friends.

I read a billboard sign the other day that got posted locally, it said 1 out of 5 children are sexually sollicited online. It did not say abused, it said sollicited. But from that, I know that 100% of children are sexually sollicited on the school bus, and in school. The internet is no more dangerous than chatting in school, and it is a wonderful tool for keeping in touch with people and learning.
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#22 of 24 Old 03-29-2006, 10:15 PM
 
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no, but when their friends are here I *know* who they are talking to. My kids do not ride a school bus, I drive them to and from school. They keep in touch with family by writting letters and talking on the phone. They go to friends houses with permission and their friends come here. We live in a very small town. I am not telling my kids they *cannot* do those things but they know of the dangers and I guess dont dare venture there. My son has been *solicited* drugs at school.. I know these things happen, my kids are very open with me. I know I cannot protect them from everything but I feel it is my job to keep them as safe as I can. They are aware of the dangers but that doesnt mean I need to subject them to those things for them to learn first hand. I hope that comes across the right way. I am not making arguement just clarifying my side

Quote:
Originally Posted by SJane01
Well, Would you insist that your kids sit in the livingroom to chat with their friends from school everytime they visit? To me that is the same thing. I trust my son well enough that he knows right from wrong, and if someone is tring to get him to do wrong things on the internet that he blocks them. Instant messenger is a wonderful thing, we have over 30 member of our family that utilize it and its a primary means of keeping in touch. I hope you will reconsider and encourage your children to use such means of keeping in touch with distant members of family and friends.

I read a billboard sign the other day that got posted locally, it said 1 out of 5 children are sexually sollicited online. It did not say abused, it said sollicited. But from that, I know that 100% of children are sexually sollicited on the school bus, and in school. The internet is no more dangerous than chatting in school, and it is a wonderful tool for keeping in touch with people and learning.
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#23 of 24 Old 03-29-2006, 10:27 PM
 
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Perfectly clear...
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#24 of 24 Old 03-31-2006, 07:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SJane01
I read a billboard sign the other day that got posted locally, it said 1 out of 5 children are sexually sollicited online. It did not say abused, it said sollicited. But from that, I know that 100% of children are sexually sollicited on the school bus, and in school. The internet is no more dangerous than chatting in school, and it is a wonderful tool for keeping in touch with people and learning.
The 1 in 5 stat comes from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children/Cybertipline. Here they are in detail:

- 1 in 5 child Internet users have received unwanted sexual solicitations yet only 1 in 4 have told a parent

- 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys will be sexually victimized before they reach adulthood. Less than 35% of these sexual assault cases are reported*

I don't think it is fair to compare this to kids talking to their peers at school...for one thing, when it is over the internet, it is a lot easier for predators to misrepresent who they are. I'm all for the internet and agree that it is a wonderful tool, but some people out there are using it for some pretty scary things. In order to keep the internet wonderful, I think it is all of our responsibility to do what we can to keep the predators away so that everyone,especially kids/teens, can enjoy the internet without having to worry about being approached by sexual predators!
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