pre-teens and the internet; HELP! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 03-11-2002, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does anyone have any advice about kids and the internet? My 11 year old daughter is posting messages on the Harry Potter website that I'm not sure if I sure over react to or not. I don't want to completely restrict her activities to only when I am watching.. I feel she deserves her privacy, but I need to keep my sanity as well! I have no idea what types of limits and expectations and rules I should set.

Any idea's?
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#2 of 6 Old 03-12-2002, 01:29 AM
 
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I'm a homeschooling mum to a 15.5 and 13 year old kid. The kids computers are in the same space as the parent computers, so we're generally 'around'. We have taught both the kids nettiquet, how to spot a perv and what to do if you spot one. They haven't been perv'd yet.

Both kids have carte blanche to go whereever they like on the net. The 15.5 year old spends most of her time chatting with other homeschoolers/ friends. Her record so far is 8 chats at once. She types like the wind and from this online interest, has learned html, some java and Flash.

Can she get into porn sites? Sure. Does she? Nope. We did our set-up early on in her childhood so that porn sites don't hold a lot of interest for her. If they held interest for her, wouldn't it be more productive to notice that it was attracting her, then talk with her about why that might be, than to ban or block it in the first place? We thought so, anyway, which is why we made the decision we did.

Our son is 13, or will be soon. We have the same boundries for him, but he rather ignores most of the net. He plays for hours and hours on Ultima Online (yes,where they're supposed to be over 18) A diagnosed Dyslexic, he's holding up his end of conversations with grown adults, his typing and spelling are dramatically improving as are his problem-solving skills and communication skills. When he's not playing his online game, he's researching 'cheats' for his favorite video games (which he plays with his father), printing them out and reading them at length. (He also plays a good game of Magik and has a vibrant off-line life.)
In his searches, has he come across porn sites? Sure. He hasn't had much interest so far. If he ever does, we'll have a long talk about it, complete with viewing and discussing the pictures with his mother sitting right next to him (what a turn-off that'll be!) (grin)
I guess it's a respect thing... I wouldn't dream of getting spy or blocking software for the kids, unless I gave them spy and blocking software to use on us. They are no less worthy of our respect than we are of theirs.
If they had not, through the way they live, earned our respect, things might be different. I hope not, but they might.

Heidi
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#3 of 6 Old 03-12-2002, 04:41 AM
 
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Heidi,
I agree with you. If kids want to find the stuff they will find a way around any "controls" you place on them, with the internet as well as with "real life" friends. Developing an honest relationship with our kids will do far more to teach self-control than any blocks or restrictions we can place on them.

For awhile we had a local internet server that blocked porn sites. It took away temptation for all of us...mum and dad as well as the kids. It did block porn sites but also blocked other things and it just didn't work well so we no longer have that and we do run into objectional sites now and again. We all keep each other accountable and talk openly about the dangers and the stupidity of getting caught up in those lifestyles.

The internet has been very helpful in our home education. Not only have they learned typing and spelling skills, as well as debating and reading, they have also had oppertunities to explore and investigate subjects and interests at greater depth. My ds spent his last year of home education, before entering college, writing editorials for an online basketball mag. Not only was that an amazing experience for him, but he also learned communication skills that he would never have learned in a classroom.

It isn't easy raising teenagers in this society....but the trusting relationship, that we have built with them from birth, will serve us well throughout life.
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#4 of 6 Old 03-12-2002, 03:31 PM
 
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I agree!!!! Trusting our children is important. And privacy is important too. But make sure that you talk, talk, talk, to your kids about what they are doing on-line. My 15 year old son knows all of the rules, but recently got drawn into some IM (Instant Messaging) chat with a troubled teen that some of his friends know. The kid was threatening other kids, saying things like he was going to cause trouble for so and so. He didn't think it was any big deal. And it really wasn't yet. But it was the kind of thing that needed to stop before it went too far. I did hear about it, but not as soon as I thought I would. There was another child involved as well who was being bothered by this kid. His Dad and I talked and we quietly handled the situation. My 15 year old son and I are extremely close and I would have thought that he would have come to me as soon as this kid started bugging him. But he doesn't have adult judgment yet. He didn't recognize that this kid was really a troubled kid and not just playing around. (This is his 1st year in school, he was homeschooled thru 8th grade, so he didn't know the kid well). Live and learn. We have learned some other IM lessons as well. Fortunately nothing too awful. (some hurt feelings, etc.) But I do check in with my kids daily on what is going on with their friends on-line, as well as what sites they are geting on.
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#5 of 6 Old 03-14-2002, 05:57 PM
 
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I'd have to respecfully disagree with the thought that, " This has nothing to do with a trust issue between your kids IMO. It has to do with protecting your kids from crap and pops up without your permission."

If the kids are old enough to filch tunes from Nabster, then they're old enough to take some of the consequences, including watching out for their younger siblings - and explaining to their younger sibs the sociological consequences of not paying artists for their work - but that's another subject for another time... (grin)
You are, in effect, trying to do two things. #1, You're asking a piece of software to do some of your parenting for you (and do some of the older sibling's jobs of watching out for their younger sibs.) I'm not comfortable with that because I believe it can lead to an expectation that we can pass off responsibility for areas of our kids thinking lives. I think it tells the kids (however obliquely) that it is appropriate to ignore or easily dismiss things that are uncomfortable for us or that we think are wrong. If there were a 'magic button' that let people block out all presence of abject poverty, abuse, injustice and hate, a lot of people would use it. Woudn't that be lovely? To never have to see poor people, to never have to see people starving, to never see corporate injustice? Bah! It would be feeding into the system. The poverty, abuse, injustice and hate would continue unexamined. But, if an elder is ready to comment on the poverty, abuse, injustice and hate when it is encountered by a 'younger', then perhaps something better can happen, eh?
Does this mean that 4 year old should be confronted with sexual images when she's playing Neopets? Don't be silly... The popups experienced came from an adult site that was being mismanaged by members of the household.
#2, There are control issues involved. Yes, as parents, we need to 'control' some aspects of our children's lives, including buffering (but not eliminating!) their exposure to negative aspects of life, to some degree. It has been my experience that it is usually the children who are the most 'controlled' by their parents who turn out to be the most messed-up adults. Being able to control something is rarely a solution to a problem. Being able to share your experience and communicate why you believe something and how to handle the problem will be a much longer lasting solution... one the kids won't want to hack around...

I worked hard to keep from sounding like I'm 'flaming' anyone. We all have different levels of parenting and social expectations. I am sharing some of my viewpoint without the expectation that I'm going to be changing anyone's mind... at least today. (smile)
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#6 of 6 Old 03-15-2002, 02:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nursing Mother
Mamagrrl, Wow, am I being analized or what!
I'd have to choose 'What'. I had no intention of analyzing you personally, but rather taking a look at what you said was going on and why you said you were doing this or that. I guess I took your post more philosophically than you intended. If being thoughtfully philosophical is *analyzing*, then I suppose I wouldn't be able to choose 'What' anymore...

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Napster (it is with a p)is a website that lets you download songs, with the purpose of kids listening and hoping then they'll run off to the local Blockbuster music store and buy the whole CD. There are actually several sites like that.
Actually, there is both a Napster, and a Nabster. Both started as music piracy sites although the courts closed down Napster for a time, after which it reopened with a greatly limited legal content. Nabster was recently closed down for similar reasons. You said your kids were on *Nabster* (see previous post.) No biggie. Same difference, only one is less well known.

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And as for my other kids and what they do, how would you even know what I teach them or what responsiblities I give them in watching out for each other.
Again, from your previous post/s where you said your Older Kids were downloading from Nabster, that your Younger Kid was on the computer and the popup appeared because Nabster was still running. I assumed from what you said, that the Older Kid wasn't keeping watch while downloading from a non-little-kid site. I assumed that if the Older was keeping an eye on his/her download and an inappropriate popup appeared, they would have closed the pop-up immediately - unfortunately, your 4 year old called it to your attention. I understood that the sending of a popup from a site left open by your Older Kid was used as a good reason for having net-nanny software. I apologize if I misunderstood what you were saying.

Quote:
Control issues? What are you talking about?
You said that the issue wasn't trust, but was "popups [appearing] without permission." Requiring permission generally means there is a desire to control something absolutely, wouldn't you agree? Do we ever make anyone ask permission when we do not want control? In this case, access to certain parts of the web. I was making the case that in many philosophies, if there is an understanding and open agreement within the household on why something is uncomfortable and what we should do when we run across that situation, then it is most likely that the children of the household will fully incorporate that information into their beings - and act appropriately even when they are not being externally controlled. It is sometimes that the hidden and the forbidden is the most sought-after territory - and not only by children.

Quote:
Are you implying someone in my house is going to porn sites?
(grin, shaking head) Not at all. Please re-read my post. But then, if someone IS going to a porn site, it would be a terrific opportunity to have a quiet chat with that member of the family and discuss the objectification of women, the economics of porn, what exactly goes into a porn shoot and just how UN-sexy it all is... and just what the parents ideas of sex, fidelity and etc are... not that you and the rest of us haven't all had this discussion with our kids already, but it would make a terrific opportunity to do so if we hadn't.

Quote:
This just all took me by suprize mamagrrl, I'm exactly sure what you are trying to tell me?
I'm saying that there are philosophies of parenting that are different from the one presented by you, and here is some philosophy which would lead to different decisions on net-access and net-nannying.

I suppose Vickie and Barbara said it best when they said,
Quote:
Developing an honest relationship with our kids will do far more to teach self-control than any blocks or restrictions we can place on them. [and] ...make sure that you talk, talk, talk, to your kids about what they are doing...
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