Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cyber Safety in the New Year


Cyber Safety in the New Year: Practical Advice from a ‘Techie’ Parent
Do you feel you’re up to speed on the digital life of your tween/teen?
I feel very up to speed with the digital life of my teen and am highly familiar with the technology that defines it. The main reason is that I am a “techie,” and have been for years, surrounding myself with technology since the 1980s.

That said, our youngest daughter (age 13) does NOT have a wireless phone. (She tells us she is the ONLY student in the ENTIRE SEVENTH GRADE who doesn’t have one; we honestly don’t care.) She’ll have one eventually, but right now, she doesn’t need one; it is simply a convenience/luxury/status item for her at this point in her life. All computers in our home are in our family room.

We give her a lot of freedom online because we have worked hard to establish an environment of mutual trust and respect. She has given us all of her usernames and passwords and (usually) won’t venture onto a new website before asking us. We monitor the websites she visits, we know everyone on her IM buddy list, and we have repeatedly stressed what information is and is not acceptable in an online profile.

She creates websites regularly (using services like but always shares her work with us. Most importantly, she is actively developing her artistic and literary skills via digital art and a collaborative adventure story (inspired by ‘Twilight’) she is writing with a friend. It’s currently 50 pages, single-spaced, and they say they are going to keep writing for a long time. These are just some of the examples of how technology is used in our household in productive, healthy ways. Click Here to Read More...

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