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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey there.
I just joined today.
I'm not a mom, I'm a dad. Hope that's Ok!
I have a 12 year old daughter, a five year old boy, and an 11 year old boy.

I've been thinking alot about technology, mobile devices, etc regarding my daughter. How to protect her, and how to gradually teach her responsibility.

This led me to a product I found called SafeTracker. It's a way to help protect our kids by monitoring and controling their mobile devices. I contacted the owner of the company and, long story short, was given the opportunity to help get the word out.

I did some research about what kids go through online ("sextortion", cyber-bullying, etc) and put it all in a PDF report. I also thought through how we can help them - that's in there too.

If you think this will be helpful to you, you can download it for
free at teamsafetracker.com

Hope it really helps.

Pat
 

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I choose to teach my kids how to stay safe, how to manage risk sensibly, empowering them to become responsible young people. I do not want them raised in an environment of fear and paranoia where they are unable to perceive and trust their own instincts. I want them to know that I trust them to behave well. I want them to not feel that they are being so infantalized by control and distrust that they are driven to sneak and rebel. And then I make sure that these factors have helped then grow in responsibility and maturity such that they can be trusted with mobile devices. And then I trust them.

Fearfulness and infantalization are huge problems with how we raise adolescents. They are capable of so much more than we give them credit for.

Miranda
 

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Miranda, I also work on teaching my kids skills and then trusting them, but I am concerned enough about the things I've run across BY ACCIDENT online that we installed parental controls on our son's account on the computer he uses with minimal supervision and will install them on the iPod Touch he'll be getting for his 11th birthday. There are no controls on my iPad, so when he's using it I make a point of peeking over his shoulder every 10 minutes or so to see what he's up to--we try to do this with the big computer, too, but he tends to be on the computer while we're doing other things, so we don't stop by as often and it's nice to have some peace of mind from having some filters, though we know they're imperfect.

I think of it as being similar to putting porn magazines in a box on the closet shelf instead of on the coffee table: The kid might be able to find them when unsupervised, but at least we made it less likely!

I certainly understand that my children will need to be able to take care of themselves when they're no longer being supervised. I certainly appreciate all the skills that my parents taught me and began teaching from an early age. But I also think that there was a huge difference between what I was able to handle when I was 18 and totally self-supervised, and what I could have handled if I'd seen/read it at 10 or 12. And when I first hit the Internet at 18, it didn't even have pictures!! There were ideas described in words there, and people there, inappropriate for preteens. I do not want my son reading that stuff or interacting with those people YET if ever, and I don't feel he's able to understand everything well enough to protect himself on the open Internet. That's why I think some "monitoring and controlling" is entirely appropriate.

However, Pat, I think the most important form of control is keeping mobile devices out of the hands of children who haven't shown they can be trusted. (My son will be getting his own iPod Touch because he has been diligent, for YEARS, in using computers and my iPad appropriately--not seeking out pictures of butts and such, interacting only with people he knows IRL, being physically responsible with the fragile devices.) Too many parents I know feel they "have to" get a child a smartphone at an early age, and it can be a problem. If your gut feeling is that your daughter's not ready, stick with other ways of communicating and managing her schedule, and if she's begging for a mobile device explain how she can earn the privilege of having one. TALK, TALK, TALK about the risks and benefits of online life to help her learn safety skills and values.
 

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I can see that there can be a role for blocking software to prevent accidental viewing of disturbing content by children. That is quite different from monitoring and controlling what tweens and teens are intentionally doing with their mobile devices.

Miranda
 

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I personally have no problems with monitoring my child's activity on electronics. Monitoring computer activity doesn't have to be controlling - it's a safety issue. We have used Specterpro software in the past to see what our kids were doing. We didn't rub their faces in it, but we did warn the kids that nothing on the internet is private.

If we saw something of concern that wasn't a serious problem, we found a gentle way of talking about it without bringing up the actual activity that caused concern. If we saw something that was a glaring concern (like when we caught our 12 year old cyber-bullying a classmate), we printed out the evidence, and held the kid accountable.

I would rather be able to talk with my kids about bad choices when they were young, than have them become a victim of identity theft or worse when they are adults. And the reality is that once your kids have a full time job with a company, you can be certain that the company IT department is able to monitor all computer activity. There is no privacy on the internet.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Agreed with Miranda. Monitoring and CONTROLLING our kid's devices is not teaching/guiding them. How about talking to them about bullying/sexting etc.
This post actually sounds like a really bad attempt at spam...is it spam "Pat"?
Hi Wintergreen.

No, wasn't trying to Spam, just passionate about an important issue. And Yes, my real name is Pat!:smile:

Totally agree that the best way to protect our kids is to talk to them. We need to start when they are young. We have consistently told our kids that they can talk to us about anything. We have also had very frank conversations with them about what dangers are out there, and tried to give them strategies to protect themselves.

Monitoring and controlling would have to be explained and defined before jumping to any conclusion. It's all in how we use it, not what it can do.

Sorry if I misled or offended anyone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I choose to teach my kids how to stay safe, how to manage risk sensibly, empowering them to become responsible young people. I do not want them raised in an environment of fear and paranoia where they are unable to perceive and trust their own instincts. I want them to know that I trust them to behave well. I want them to not feel that they are being so infantalized by control and distrust that they are driven to sneak and rebel. And then I make sure that these factors have helped then grow in responsibility and maturity such that they can be trusted with mobile devices. And then I trust them.

Fearfulness and infantalization are huge problems with how we raise adolescents. They are capable of so much more than we give them credit for.

Miranda
You sound like a great parent, Miranda!

I think I benefited tons from having parents that trusted me when I was an adolescent. Of course that was a long time ago! :eek:
 
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