Parents Internet Guide - Parental Controls

A Parent's Guide to the Internet and it's Dangers to Children, and Parental Controls software information.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The IM Generation

Parents and teens often have differing opinions about the web. Teens carry their idea of immortality to the Net. Many feel that they know more than their parents and they probably aren't too far off base.

It wasn't too long ago that parents complained about teens' excessive use of the telephone. Today's youth are being dubbed the IM generation. The use of screen names allows kids to experiment with multiple personas. It's common for teens have multiple screen names and identitfy different personas with each. It also enables them to say things that they wouldn't say face-to-face or even on the phone. It's a false sense of security by not being able to see or hear who they are speaking with. Kids have said that they have harassed or been harassed by their peers on IM. Older boys often lie about their identity and age online to allow them access to adult sites. Also, many teens, girls especially, have given out their passwords to friends as a sign of trust. Plus, most teens have met someone that they didn't previously know online whether via e-mail, IM or chat rooms.

I know all this because it wasn't all that long ago that I was a teen exploring the Internet myself. That and Pew Internet & American Life Project did a study on it not too long ago. Read the study.

My point in this post is that while most parents are taking great strides in making the Internet a safer place for their kids, many kids are aware of it and are trying to find ways around this. With IM being the number one communicator for kids, logging their conversations is a good first step to take in monitoring their Internet usage. Also (and this is from personal experience) peers are the most prominant harassers online. A lot more is being said since there's no longer a fear of public confrontation.

Check my links for some good resources as well as a link to monitoring software.


  • At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As loving and caring as you may seem while monitoring your child's every move on the internet, there are some issues that should be taken into consideration. Your child needs room to grow independently, they need to learn to make mistakes and fend for themselves, seeing as parents won't always be around to protect and baby them.
    There is also the issue of trust. You need to put a certain amount of trust in your child and their ability to make responsible decisions. If you put too much they will abuse it, if you put too little they will find ways to work around it. If you forbid your child to do something, that only makes them want to do it more. If they ever find out that you are watching every word they type, it will only make them distrust you more.
    It is a good thing to worry about them, a good thing to educate them on the dangers of the internet. The ability to disable chat rooms may be a good idea too, but what if your child wants to form a chat with a bunch of their friends? However good your intentions are, you have to consider their feelings, too. Would you want your child listening in on every conversation you have, having access to every website you visit? I don't think so. Your children, especially if they are teenagers, aren't as young and naive as they seem. They're the ones who grew up in the time of instant messaging, they're the ones who spend most of their time on the internet, don't you think that there is a possibility that the average *responsible* teenager may know a little bit more about the web than their parents? I'm sure your teenagers can handle the internet and all its troubles fine with merely your guidance and advice, not inhumane spy tactics and unnecessary intervention.

  • At 10:24 AM, Blogger Becca said…

    I appreciate your comment and for the record, I don't entirely disagree with you. I feel that your concern is probably one that a number of people have, so I went ahead and made a new blog entry in response. You can read what I wrote here. Again, thank you for taking the time to comment on my humble blog.


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