Please watch your children online.

As a child, I never thought that I would actually make this blog post as an adult…

But as a child, the only way that I had to get online was America Online, and most of my formative years were spent on dial-up with my parents having an idea who I was talking to, not quite approving of the “crowd of people” that I associated with for most of that time, but never really doing anything about it. I lived in the day where it was forbidden to give my full first name, or even my last name, to my friends, did so anyway to “rebel against my parents”, and had my so-called friends “use my name against me” whenever I did something that they did not like. Now, with the advent of Facebook, everyone knows your legal name (unless you’ve intentionally created an account where you’re not using it), so that’s almost absolutely moot.

But since you can do so much more on the Internet now, I feel like more parents need to be aware of what their children are doing online… and that more children don’t need to be given significant, unfettered access to the Internet. Even if it “makes their children mad”, mad is safe. As long as they’re young, they don’t need to have social media accounts in their own name, at least not unless their parent is friended with them on that account, has access to it themselves, and knows precisely what they are posting. Children do not need to have “safe spaces” on the Internet where they can share things away from their parents’ eyes, because this usually leads to bad things. They need to use age-appropriate sites that are either monitored by adults and used in an appropriate capacity, or they need to be monitored by their own parents to ensure that they remain safe online until they are old enough not to require monitoring. This is how we keep children safe.

Facebook has an age requirement for a reason. So do several popular chat programs.

But this doesn’t mean that parents should let their children “have at it” and not monitor them on their own.

Even if they’re busy working, they should either at least know what their child is doing or install parental control programs on their computers at home to ensure that their children can only access safe, age-appropriate websites or use the Internet at certain times or only for a certain number of hours per day.

“Worst-case scenario,” there is also the possibility of placing a password on the computer and putting it in themselves when they are around to provide monitoring, if that is absolutely something that has to be done.

Sure, a lot of the Internet is good. Most of it may be. But there are plenty of places on it that are not good.

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