Growing up in the 2010s
Lately, I realized that the internet will be a large part of our child’s life. For one thing, if his father has anything to say about it, he’ll have a domain registered for his name as soon as we settle on it. Not to mention twitter and flickr accounts.
Personal blogs and online video make it possible for records of his life to be available to the public before he can talk. Not just basic info like address, age and names of family members, but his likes, dislikes, moods, music tastes, activities, personal photo collection and (for some) a record of his online purchases.
Is it Safe to Give Your Child an Online Presence?
Are parents concerned about internet privacy regarding their children, when millions of people can view their home videos? And here’s some unfounded paranoia to chew on – do you remember Red Dragon, when the psychopath uses home videos to scope out people’s lives and homes in order to break in and stick mirror glass in the eyes of their corpses?
This doesn’t even take into account your kids’ own posts, when they are old enough for MySpace profiles and Facebook stalkers. I like to believe in the basic goodness of the human race, but I also realize that the Amber Alert stickers in retail windows are not just there for decoration.
The More You Know
What about the things your child can read about? Sure, there are privacy settings for both incoming & outgoing information. But this is the internet. I’m fully expecting our child’s hacking abilities to surpass my husband’s ability to construct blocks at about 13, maybe sooner. In fact, I will probably be offended if he is not this precocious.
But, You Guys Do It
Then there’s the hypocrisy factor. Jon and I work on computers all day and then come home and interact online through Twitter or blogs or World of Warcraft for the next 6 hours. Granted, this will change somewhat when we have a baby. But we still spend a lot of our time online, for our day jobs, web design/consulting, and entertainment, so how fair is it to excessively restrict our son’s time online?
Parents, Any Advice?
What do other parents do about this? If you have a young child, what steps do you take to filter the influx of information, to share with an online community but not risk your family’s safety, and to prevent your child from being completely addicted to the internet?
I’ve heard there are blocks you can set up, and internet usage cards, but it IS the internet. Part of the fun of it is that you can find just about anything if you know how to look.
These issues are legit concerns for us, and for any other parent with computers in the house and a Comcast account. We realize that we might be more tech-oriented than some households, due to our backgrounds and preferences, but going from the numerous photos of children I see on Flickr, blogs, YouTube, etc., we’re not alone.
Parents, how do you handle this?