This summer, we’ve started to dig into how we can better protect our kids from pornography, predators and other online dangers, and we’ve been stressing the importance of parental involvement and communication.
As we’ve started to talk about the dangers of online predators, strangers, online groups and child sexual abuse, we’d love to know whether you think it’s ever OK for kids to talk to ‘strangers’ online?
Some of the other Internet safety experts I’ve worked with over the years have suggested there are good, valuable, entertaining and harmless times that kids can communicate with strangers. One recently told me that she lets her daughter communicate with strangers through Twitter, where she can tweet at celebrities, ‘tweeps’ with similar interests, adults and kids from around the world, but she cautioned that her daughter doesn’t use her real name or have any personally identifiable information on her Twitter profile.
So what do you think?
As I mentioned last week, when I talk with kids, one thing they share is that the word “stranger” doesn’t really resonate with them. When they meet people online, they don’t view them as “strangers”—often, they are introduced to new people online through friends or friends of friends, and they feel they can trust these people. Maybe when you’ve confronted your kids, you’ve wrestled with this disconnect as well.
All of us could stand to benefit from your “lessons learned” with regards to parenting today. Each week this month, we will be posing a question for you to answer, and, at the beginning of each month, we’ll post some of the most helpful feedback you all provided to encourage one another as we parent in the virtual world.
I’m looking forward to learning from you.