Recently, I blogged about my opposition to a new Missouri law that prohibits teachers and students from being Facebook friends. I believe it’s silly to take away useful tools like Facebook and social media sites simply because some are being misused by a small number of users.
I am by no means belittling the potential danger to minors who are participating in social networking. Obviously, bad things can happen and have happened to youth who weren’t savvy enough to avoid the harmful behavior of online predators – be they teachers or others. However, if we outlawed everything that could be misused by or against children there’d be precious few educational tools available to youngsters.
This is where smart parents, guardians, and technology come in. Parents can virtually eliminate the threats of say, a teacher and an under-age student entering into an illicit relationship. It just takes a parental commitment and a little investment.
Unfortunately, there are many parents who don’t or can’t make the commitment to properly supervise their children online nor make the small investment in security software like Trend Micro Guardian.
Some don’t think it appropriate to snoop on their kids
There are some parents who don’t think it appropriate to “snoop” on their kids. And of course, a case can be made for kids having some privacy in the home. Following your 13-year-old into the bathroom is inappropriate, but what about if they go into a public restroom in a location known for having criminal elements. Of course, that’s a different story. You know instinctively that there’s potential for trouble. The same can be said for going online, only you may not instinctively feel there’s danger because your child’s at home in their room.
I would argue that good parenting requires “snooping” – or if you want a fancy way of saying it –one needs to be engaged in their child’s life (online and off, too) and be aware of what sites they’re visiting and what they’re doing on them.
If you know what your kids are searching for or who they are chatting with and make your child aware that you are checking on them, they are going to be safer. They’re less likely to misbehave because they’ll have to deal with your displeasure with logical and natural consequences, of course. Don’t think that just because they will be an adult in a few years that they don’t need guidance. They do.
Juvenile and adolescent Internet users needs rules and limits
Just like a new driving teenager needs rules and limits, so do juvenile and adolescent Internet users. And you don’t have to be a smothering, helicopter mother or father to do it. You just need a commitment that is understood by all parties along with some security software. The best software lets you control where your young ones go online, what they view and do, what they chat about, how long they are online, and how much information they share.
I encourage anyone who isn’t sure about the ability or the value of security software to help protect your family to take us up an unusual and limited time offer on our Online Guardian product. You can try the software FREE FOR THREE MONTHS to see if it’s worth purchasing a year subscription.
(Note: the 3-month free trial offer expires tomorrow August 20, 2011, but after that you can still take advantage of the Trend Micro Guardian 1-month free trial.)
I work for Trend Micro and opinions expressed here are my own.