T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 25983
posted 12-26-2006 11:59 PM
http://www.kcra.com/news/6690006/detail.html I'm sure we've all seen articles such as these about MySpace and other social networking sites. It's all over the news, and people are bombarded with news of internet predators. The Internet can be a dangerous place for teens if proper caution isn't taken. This certainly isn't all propaganda. Parents should know what their kids are up to, but where do you draw the line? For example, many such articles and specials urge parents to do such things as changing the settings in teens' IM programs and setting it to log all chats, installing protective software that monitors and reports all activity, and checking all online profiles. As only one example, that could stop many young adults with more reserved parents from coming to Scarleteen. I know I, for example, would feel very violated if my parents logged and read my chats, much in the same way I would if they read my diary or tapped into a phone conversation. Same goes for if my parents were opposed to sites such as this one. So, where do we draw the line between helping teens to make responsible choices, and intruding on their personal life?
Member # 31787
posted 12-27-2006 12:40 AM
...being too cynical for my own good, I'm pretty much convinced that the "don't let your kids talk on the internet" myth is just to make it harder for them to disclose what goes on at home.
...speaking of which, the CARE Act dies a SECOND time in about five days. ~sigh~...
Member # 13388
posted 12-27-2006 10:32 AM
Good question! It's tough because online journals or profiles can disclose a lot of personal information to unwanted third parties. (Like how it's SO easy to figure out who's who by clicking through journals of people you know.) Of course, open communication between parents and kids all along in terms of internet usage would be the best thing, but too often not the case.
I stick to online correspondence with people I either have met in person or in forums with a certain level of anonynmity like here. I would have been really annoyed to have had my parents secretly check up on chat logs, because I knew I was being careful and didn't want to have to explain a joke among friends that seemed weird to them. Then again, unwanted parental involvement could end up really helping in dangerous or uncomfortable situations. Parents should realize they're doing something right if they children feel comfortable enough to come to them for advice about getting in a bind on the internet-- then again, reacting by completely restricting and punishing them is also hardly the solution. I think this is such a individual thing, that general safety guidelines should be followed, but it really depends on the child, the parents, and their relationship.
Member # 27855
posted 12-27-2006 10:45 AM
All it takes is talking- talk to your kids about drugs/drinking, sex, safety- it does wonders. My parents were always open and frank about these issues, and not meaning to blow my own horn here, I've always been smart about them.
By using all these sneaky, underhanded programs, parents are just teaching their kids how to lie better. They're doing nothing but forming a relationship of lies and distrust. Even if the child is seemingly unresponsive to talking, it does help. When my mom talks to me about sex or her drug days, I don't feel comfortable enough to respond, but what she says does influence me. I believe parents are unwilling to talk b/c it is uncomfortable for them or they think the child won't listen. In either case, they need to try, b/c that is their job as parents.
Member # 31146
posted 12-27-2006 03:02 PM
This is an issue that I've actually spoken with my fiance about, and we both agree that when we do have children, we will use monitoring software and inform them of that fact. Why? Because we're both "net nerds" and know exactly the depth and breadth of what can be found out here. It's not just chatting - it's pornography, racist material, sexually explicit games and stories, guides to illegal activities, etc.
We both know how easy it is to find material on the internet that we wouldn't want our children to be exposed to, and feel that it's more fair to monitor computer usage than to use a program that bans access to undesireable material - more often than not, firewalls will block not only negative materials but valuable resources. I wouldn't be surprised if some of those programs ban Scarleteen and other sites like it.
Member # 1207
posted 12-27-2006 03:18 PM
I agree w/ Alea ... The internet can be a scary scary place.
My mom didn't know much about computers and my dad didn't live w/ us, so i had pretty much free rein of my computer. I found a lot of things really on that i shouldn't have found. I got my computer hacked a few times, and viruses here and there ... If i'd been listening to my dad (he DID tell me these things), that probably wouldn't have happened, but i was young ... Sometimes talking just isn't enough (and that'd be where the monitoring software comes in). Then we get into information sharing on sites like MySpace ... Scares the crap out of me, to be quite honest. I was pretty good about not sharing any info when i was younger, b/c it scared me then too. And i still don't share anything unless i know 110% for sure i know who i'm sharing it w/. So, are parents going too far? Absolutely not. I'd be doing the same w/ my kids.
Member # 25425
posted 12-27-2006 03:46 PM
I started to use the Internet when I was 13 and we got our first computer. Which means that my dad and I learned how to use the internet at the same time and I overtook him fairly quickly. My mother never used the computer at all and therefore knew even less about what I was doing. So in the first few years, I was pretty much free to do whatever. Though all I did was write e-mails to friends and chat in AOL chatrooms.
Eventually it dawned on my parents that the internet might not be an entirely safe place to be for a teenager. But when they did talk to me about it, all they did was warn me not to give out any personal information. For the most part, they trusted that they had raised me well enough to know what to stay away from and how to handle the things I did see. I am so, so glad that they dealt with it this way. Because if they had invaded my privacy by restricting or monitoring my 'net access? I would have been pissed as hell. And in the unlikely event I do end up breeding, I am going to do it the same way. Because if you raise children to have some amount of common sense, they will act responsiby, and if you do not invade their privacy, they will be much more likely to open up to you if they do run into trouble.
Member # 25983
posted 12-27-2006 04:13 PM
My parents were very computer illiterate themselves as some users have stated. My dad was too paranoid to even touch a mouse, let alone log my activity!
When the Dateline "To Catch a Predator" series came out, my parents were constantly terrified of me being online to an un-necessary degree. They were constantly asking who I was talking to, and if I mentioned it wasn't someone I knew personally, or someone in another country, they'd completely flip. My mom even tried to hassle me about the dangers of even using my real first name. This is coming from somebody who got burned by the Internet several times. I stumbled upon sites that shocked and frightened me, and I got into trouble with men that luckily didn't threaten my life. But you know? I'm really glad I had the freedom to find out for myself, and learn firsthand ways to keep myself safe. To those of you who plan on monitoring activity/support parents doing so: how will you deal with the fact that kids are bound to sneak around more when monitored? I know I was only 13 when I learned how to delete browser history, delete cookies, uninstall software, and make sure my IM programs weren't set to log. If my parents asked me who I was talking to and flipped out, I'd lie in the future and just say it was a friend from school. Many of my good friends are international folks I've met online, and I felt very hurt that my parents wouldn't be as understanding of private convos with them as they would my schoolmates. Too, my first relationships took place online. While I did get burned, it taught me an awful lot of lessons about trust, intimacy, and dynamics. I think parents should think twice about keeping teens from learning about relationships for themselves; would they wire their teen's bedroom to hear every spoken word? You can bet, too, that those online romances were just friends from school.
Member # 30995
posted 01-06-2007 10:19 PM
I think parents grossly underestimate their children. As has been said, it just breeds more lies and distrust. I remember writing long, extended and angry letters to my mother through the keylogger. I remember typing long and disjointed emails and IMs and then using the mouse to underline certain words to get my message across.
And now my sister has a copy of Puppy Linux that she uses to surf untraceably. Kids aren't stupid. Encouraging them to talk about things on the internet that bother them the same as they would talk about anything in real life is the key... educating them about internet safety is the answer. Spying and lying is not. Besides, kids are getting more and more leet with each passing day.
Member # 25983
posted 01-06-2007 10:24 PM
You and your sister got it right. I'm a Linux gal myself, so even the most computer-literate people I know are likely only so on Windows.
Super smart kids know that monitoring programs are made only for Windows and less rarely Mac, and should a version for Linux be made and should a parent have the know-how to install it on a given distro, they'd require root anyway. I really pity you, and likely would have done the same if my parents took such measures.
Member # 1207
posted 01-06-2007 11:59 PM
So where is the line then? If you just trust your children, and let them use the internet as they please, how many people do you think they have to meet in real life before they find the 'bad apple'? Could be the first time, right?
I think talking about it can only take you so far. As an example ... Your kid wants to go to a slumber party. Are you going to call the other kids' parents to make sure that's actually what's going on? Probably. I would. Who knows whether or not the kid is trying to 'pull a fast one' and really wants to go cruising around downtown all night? What is the difference? Trust is not just given freely, as far as i'm concerned. I want to trust that my kids will be where they say they are (online or otherwise), doing what they said they will be doing, and they can trust that i WILL be checking up on them, and that if they lied, there will be concequences. [ 01-07-2007, 12:00 AM: Message edited by: LilBlueSmurf ]
Member # 25983
posted 01-07-2007 12:39 AM
But checking up on your kids only takes you so far, too. You can't be there when they're offered drugs, you can't be there when they have conflicts at school, you can't be there when they have sex. You can and SHOULD tell them the dangers and social ills of drug use, the importance of mature conflict resolution, and stress the importance of safe sex. But when it comes down to it, they choose what they do, and they're out of earshot from the parent. My parents educated me well about the real dangers of meeting folks from the Internet in person and giving out personal info. I did neither, but I also did many other things they wouldn't approve of, including exploring my sexuality, which really wasn't a bad thing, but something I didn't want them knowing. I think that monitoring a teen's usage of the 'Net , especially in secrecy, is the same thing as reading their diary or listening in on phone calls with friends. I guess I'd support having the home computer decked out all library style, as in education-only. I think parents who allow IM programs, MySpace and the like only to monitor and condemn anything their kid does are on a bit of a powertrip. (As an afterthought, I'd like to know what you all think of this contract for family internet use found here. Is it fair? Why or why not?) http://www.safekids.com/contract.htm [ 01-07-2007, 12:52 AM: Message edited by: Miss Lauren ]
Member # 30995
posted 01-07-2007 08:01 AM
Those contracts sound very reasonable to me. They are facilitating communication between children and their parents instead of encouraging distrust and spying.
Member # 26880
posted 01-07-2007 03:02 PM
I think most of this is paranoia and hysteria - a little care and caution and you don't need "Big brother" (as the parent in the posted article refers to himself as) looking over your shoulder.
I think that pledge is good until the kid is about 16...then it is overly strict. All in all, it is okay.
Member # 34213
posted 06-07-2007 03:51 AM
i would hate for my parents to spy on me. my mom at lest is very internet wise but my computer software has a built in history right in the favorite i was the first one to find out and have not told any one but i relgionsly delete it and my cookies. and i take pride that my parents warn me of the dangers ask me to talk about what i see and trust me to be carful.
as my dad says if your safe and don't pick up virsus then have fun!
Member # 568
posted 06-08-2007 12:03 AM
I was reading an editorial on the NYTimes today written by a mom who joined Facebook and managed to annoy her teenage daughter in the process.
Link requires registration, but it's the NYTimes. You should be reading this kind of stuff anyway. makes us smarter as a society: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/07/fashion/07Cyber.html?em&ex=1181448000&en=afe41439e823446d&ei=5087%0A Anyway, my experience has taught me that a lot of young people are real MORONS when it comes to behaving online. Guess what! When anyone posts their MySpace profile here, I check out the page. I could be ANYBODY. I could be a STALKER. I could be DANGEROUS. That's why we ask that users NOT post their profile links on ST's boards. Really, a lot of you leave it all out in the open. And having seen some of your pages, I know if I was your parents, you'd be grounded for life. That's the other thing. there is NOTHING private about the internet. Anonymous? perhaps. But even with our screen names to cover up what was written on our birth certificates, we carve out identities for ourselves. And whatever we post online stays online. Google cache will come back to bite you in the *** sooner or later. When you get a little bit older, you come to find that employers will look up your profiles to see what kind of person you are when the heat's off. University admissions panels are looking, too. So going back to the idea of parents watching their kids online.I find that the people who object the most are the ones trying to hide something. if you can't owe up to something you've written online, or if you refuse to account for a compromising picture you posted on your own profile, then why'd you put it up there in the first place?
Member # 25425
posted 06-08-2007 10:23 AM
I was one of the people who was opposed to people spying on their children earlier in this thread, so I guess I'll answer the question in your last paragraph.
I object to this not because I have something to hide, but on principle. When I was a teen, I would've been incredibly hurt and upset if my parents had started to control what I was doing online. Not because I had anything to hide (I didn't, aside from a few posts on a message board while I was still questioning my sexuality and very much in the closet) but because snooping is just low. It's a giant breach of trust. It's on the same page as reading other people's mail/diary/text messages. My parents taught me common sense and trusted me that I knew enough not to do anything blatantly stupid online (such as handing out address and phone number) and because I knew that they trusted me, I tried not to disappoint that. And I would've been horribly disappointed in them if they'd gone behind my back to check up on me.
Member # 25983
posted 02-18-2008 07:20 PM
This is a pretty good topic to revisit, I think.
Especially with a new study showing that contrary to popular belief, teens are not victimized more frequently on social networking sites, nor are most of the perpetrators secretive/violent adults. The study adds some balance to the picture, saying that most adults/other "predators" are actually very forward with their intentions, and often target teens who make clear they're interested in sex and already speak to strangers online. This is in-line with my personal experience; most victims are actively seeking such attention, often view the interaction as a romance, and violent crime is not frequently part of the picture. Thoughts? [ 02-18-2008, 07:22 PM: Message edited by: *Lauren* ]
Member # 35643
posted 02-19-2008 03:23 AM
I think that teenagers can also be victimised by other teenagers online. Its like text bullying moving onto facebook/myspace/ bebo bullying.
I saw on the news about a girl who had attempted suicide after forming a pact with an online boyfriend (who was actually another girl at her school). Both girls were 15. Pretty scary stuff.
Member # 37221
posted 02-25-2008 09:49 PM
her mother was involved too, wouldn't you feel awful
Member # 37462
posted 03-13-2008 01:31 PM
This is a tough issue. In one way you need to be good parents by supervising your children, and in another way there should be a degree of privacy and trust to make the right decisions. *sigh* Some people consider the internet or myspace evil because of child molesters and the news playing it up as a big ballfield for them. However, the large amount of people on there are there to have fun and to make friends, that's it. Molesters will use whatever tool is available to them, but that doesn't necessarily make the tool itself wrong, if you understand? A tough situation.
Member # 37835
posted 05-31-2008 05:38 PM
One thing that popped into my mind as I read this thread: how would you feel if your parents were monitoring the questions you ask here at Scarleteen? Correct me if I'm wrong, but most users here seem to live at home, and use this sight to ask questions that they wouldn't be caught dead asking their parents. Or maybe they're posting here because it's the only way they can get advice anonymously about something that's going on at home (ie some type of abusive situation), and if their parents or other family members knew, they might be put in real, physical harm....
So what do you guys think about that issue? Am I being totally unrealistic with these worries?
Member # 3
posted 05-31-2008 06:31 PM
Ultimately, it's about what a person does to protect their own privacy here.
We work hard to do what we can on that end, but things like choosing smartly anonymous usernames, clearing browser caches, etc. are up to a given user. For the most part, our policies -- when they are followed -- are not going to allow a parent to identify anyone posting here. I do think very few people are going to be at risk of physical harm for engaging in an online forum or asking sex questions, and for those where it is an issue, most of us who grow up in abuse learn what we need to do to cover our backs. Someone who feels their situation is that dangerous does have other options than posting here, such as using any number of the hotlines we list in the crisis area of the site. My impression also, for the record, is that most of why a user asks a question here, rather than asking parents, is just because they want a little privacy and also because they suspect parents won't actually know the answers as well as a sexual health site will. While for sure, plenty of users are not informing parents about their sexual activity they're sharing here, I think more of that has to do with personal boundaries than it does with the risk or fear of harm from parents. Edited to add that lest parenting-paranoia ensue from this thread, I feel pretty confident saying that most parents, by the time their kids are in their teens, do a pretty good job when it comes to affording them some privacy and not snooping into things like their internet history, personal diaries, what have you. I hear from parents at least a few times a week who give links to their teens to the site with the intention of giving it and allowing their teens the privacy of using it without their supervision or attention. The media thrives on inducing panic and fear, so having a critical eye with things like this when it comes to remembering that many parents are well-balanced people who respect their kids is sage. [ 05-31-2008, 06:36 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]
Member # 37835
posted 05-31-2008 07:21 PM
I just asked that question, because a few years back a friend of a friend specifically had to go to ask my friend to look up child abuse hotlines and information online, because her (my friend's friend) parents had some serious spyware. I do think things like that are more risky because of more advanced spyware, and it's a VERY small minority of parents who have that kind of monitoring going on, and it's a very, very, very small minority of those who are seriously abusing their children.
I've also known a couple people who've gotten in trouble for visiting sites like this, but again, it hasn't been very many. I just makes me really sad when those types of things happen. But I agree that parents like those are greatly outnumbered by those who want their kids to get accurate information.