For those who are new to this blog…
Vampire Maman 101
- Talk with your kids
- Keep the lines of communication open
- Be the PARENT
- Show that your trust them
- Show that they can trust you
- TALK WITH THEM
- Listen to them
- Laugh with your kids
- Tell them you love them
And sometimes we get into issues with Vampires, ghosts, poetry, books and other things but this isn’t one of those posts.
Why I don’t use parental control software
Your kids and the Internet
The BEST resource is the FBI: http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/parent-guide. They cover exactly what I’m covering here but not in such an emotional way (ranting I think is the term I’m looking for). Check this link. Read the article. See if they’ll come out to your school.
Now if you want MY view (Vampire Maman) keep reading.
Why I don’t use parental controls on my home computers.
I am not one of those over protective parents who monitors every move, thought and action my child takes. I want them to learn how to make responsible choices and know there are consequences to their choices – that includes the Internet.
- From an early age my kids have learned that we can TRUST each other. Sure we all have our secrets. BUT we’ve talked about the Internet from the time they were toddlers. We’ve sat together at the computer and shared.
- Most kids are not looking for porn and they are uncomfortable with it. They’ll tell you that they are as frustrated as you are when they do a search for an English paper or history project and come up with pornography. So you tell them to just close it up. Bing seems to be the worst at bringing up porn images so we use Google and other search images. So yes, sometimes the image controls are in order if the kids keep getting nasty images.
- I’ve used the blocking function on Bing on MY computer. I swear, one day I looked up images for “mom” and you wouldn’t believe what I found. YUCK.
- If your kids are doing research for school half the stuff they look for won’t come up if you have parental controls on your computer. Most controls are stupid – they mean well but they can’t tell the difference between a breast on a porn site and a recipe for chicken. It makes it extremely frustrating for kids.
My kids have discovered the world on the Internet. And they share it with me. They’ve found music that isn’t on the radio. They’ve found artists. They’ve found stuff so funny we almost pee our pants. They find podcasts and news and stories. They’ve found blogs and games and fashion. They’ve found so much that has made them think. And we SHARE and laugh and wonder and discuss what we see.
If the controls were always set there is so much I would have missed out on (that is a very selfish thing to say – but yes, I use my kids to find cool stuff.)
- So if you’re afraid? That is OK. We’re all afraid – that is part of being a parent.
Talk to your kids about the Internet. Talk to them about creepers. TALK TO THEM. Just like you should be talking to them about SEX and DRUGS and ALCOHOL and THE IMPORTANCE of a GOOD EDUCATION and SELF IMAGE.
I swear to God what is wrong with some people? What is so scary about talking to your kids?
Go on the Internet WITH your kids. Know what they’re looking at. Share with them. Laugh with them. Learn with them.
And this isn’t just with the Internet – do it with everything.
Honestly, if you’re going to have kids SHARE with them. It isn’t all about babies and cuteness and the right stroller. Like puppies and kittens they grow up and honestly, I think they’re more fun when they’re older. PLUS it is your responsibility to be an involved parent (or you might as well not have kids). And I’m not sorry to be so blunt. If your going to call yourself a parent then BE a parent.
And don’t say you don’t have time. 99% of my mom friends work full-time and do ALL that I mentioned above. No excuses. These are your kids and you only get one shot at it.
Consequences if kids misuse the Internet: Discuss this with your child/teen.
- Check with your school and local laws. If they cyber-bully, post anything about sex (including but on exclusive to photos) or do equally stupid things they could get suspended from school or worse.
- Tell your kids if they do stupid things they’ll be grounded forever or at least until they’re 30 and/or prove they are smart enough to know better.
- If anyone takes a photos of your child it will be posted. Even if their “best” friend says it won’t be posted it will. Kids – just say NO to photos. Don’t get undressed in front of anyone. Don’t lift your shirt. Don’t have sex with stupid boys (or girls) who take photos. Don’t put yourself in a stupid situation unless you really want everyone to immediately know you’re stupid. Tell THAT to your kids. Do it NOW – TODAY. TELL THEM. Don’t threaten them – just tell them that if they do any of that the entire world will know how STUPID they are.
- If they use the Internet to look up porn and racists things and violent horrible things then you need to sit them down and talk to them. Sometimes they think awful things are funny and it isn’t funny – they need to know. Don’t yell at them or threaten – just talk to them and tell them why it isn’t a good idea. What you tell them is up to your and your beliefs. Yes, I’ve had to do this. Their dad had to do this and DAD wasn’t as nice as I was about it.
- And you know what? You are the parent so YOU can take away the phone and the computer. You are in control as long as they live under your roof.
Things I would have missed if my kids couldn’t freely roam the Internet: