Parents Internet Guide - Parental Controls

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

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Back to Blogging

I'm not opposed to blogs (obviously as I author three of them). I started my first when I was 19 and I use to keep in touch with friends as we've all moved away from each other since graduation from college. I think, in this way, it's okay for teens to have blogs as well. Ranting and raving with friends about things that are happening in your life is going to happen whether it be online or off.

The problem is that posting negative things online leaves a trail. It's no longer a matter of he said/she said because there is physical evidence of who actually said (or didn't say) what. This can also come back to haunt them later in life when a future employer googles their name and stumbles upon their blog, which is happening more and more frequently. A good way to see just what is out there is to google your child's name and see what comes up. If personal info or private stories come up, instruct them to take those entries straight off their blogs.

Another problem is that its common to post pictures in blogs. While this may seem harmless, it is easy to to copy those same pictures and edit them a program as simple as photoshop. Doing the same google search will also pull up any pictures online related to your child's name. If this occurs, instruct your child to take those pictures down.

The good news is that online journals such as livejournal, xanga and myspace have privacy settings. In other words, they allow the user to limit who, if anybody, can read any particular journal entry. The bad news for parents is that you have to be a user of that journal and be added as a 'friend' by your child to be able to read what they are posting under those settings. Again, the AOL Red Blog allows parents to restrict their child's blog. If you think your child needs your help in restricting their blog, this is the way to go.

Some good news is that I've heard a rumor that a private software company is starting to work on a blog monitoring program. The only downside is that writing software of this magnitude will take a while. At least we're on the right track!

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