I don't block or ban either
by dlsears - 4/11/07 5:26 PM
In Reply to: We don't block or ban by lostinlodos
I don't like everything that's on the Net, but I don't like censorship either. I know from my own youth that forbidden words, pictures, and activities were always the biggest temptations, so I take a different approach with my 5th-grader than the smothering "family values" and "the pornographic Internet sky is falling on our children" hysterics do.
I think that the most important thing parents can do to protect their children when they're not together is to establish a trusting relationship with their children. If your children respect you and trust you, they are more likely to follow your advice and obey your rules when you're not there to monitor them. And if you as a parent have a double standard about surfing the Net, you will neither earn their trust and respect nor deserve it. You have to practice what you preach. But you also have to be able to explain to your children why you think they shouldn't be visiting certain sites, posting certain kinds of information, and talking to certain kinds of people online. Children don't like "Because I said so!" as a reason for everything. A 10-year-old is old enough to understand that life can be dangerous.
I occasionally monitor what my son does. Most of the time he plays online game appropriate for his age. But last month I learned that he had a personal blog with pictures and text. When he showed me the content, I told him that I thought it was better for him not to post pictures of himself, and that he could not post personal information like his address, phone number, or school name and location. I didn't order him to take his pictures down. I merely advised him that it would be much better and safer if he did. I gave him a few compelling, it seems, reasons, because he then went to his mother, who had helped him set up the blog, and asked her to help him take down those pictures of himself. I explained to her my reasons for objecting, and she agreed. Neither one of us had to tell him what to do. He made the right and safe decision for himself.
I never have to hide what I'm doing on the Net. Neither does his mother.
We do restrict his access to the Net to one hour per day. He's so interested in his online games that he spends all that time playing and none surfing. The blog is extra, and he usually asks his mother to help him with it, so I don't worry about it.
I agree wholeheartedly with your decision not to censor but to monitor, discuss, and explain. How else can parents teach their children anything of value?
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