My Children and their Online Identity
My wife and I are firm believers in active parenting, and while some people love it, other may hate it. Iknow at times my kids don’t appreciate it in the least, but at other times I know that it give them a sense of security.
I could, and probably will write a whole post on the difference between what I see as smothering and active parenting, but today i just want to focus on what I see as a parent and Social Media. At times my kids “hate” me for my positions on online rulings, and claim I’m unfair, but as i have explained, we don’t operate in a democracy in my house.
Rule #1-You have a computer in the office, you don’t need one upstairs.
I have three boys ranging in ages from 19 to 5, and the 19-year-old just recently started working on a laptop in his room, beginning his senior year of high school. he’s a great kid, but was a bit late of a social bloomer, and my second in line (14) tends to over indulge, so I have alway been a firm believer in that they have a dedicated PC (they don’t share ours) in the downstairs office so they didn’t need one in their rooms, where they could surf unobserved, at least until, they are of the appropriate age.
Rule #2 – No Facebook for you, next.
Our oldest again, dodn’t get Facebook until his Senior year, and we must have that battle with our 14-year-old on a quarterly basis. I just son;t see the need. If you want to chat with friends, call them, see them. In todays world one bad post, one bad picture can follow you forever, so until you are old enough to really understand those consequences on your own, then the choice remains mine.
Same goes for Google+, Twitter, and on and on..
Rule #3 – Until your 17, rated M means Mom approved (and even them some)
If it’s rated M, be prepared to plead you case to Mom, and dad. That being said, we are a little more allowing here. I do have a 5-year-old that loves two rated M Batman games, not really because he loves the games, but he loves to grapple and jump off buildings.
Rule #4 - Play on-line with limits.
4 hours a day, no more. Period. This was a wife instated rule (I don’t argue this one).
Why my 5-year-old has a secret Facebook Account
One thing I will note that my 14-year-old, and my 5-year-old actually both have email accounts, and Facebook accounts. The 14-year-old does utilize his email accounts, and I have the password, but he doesn’t know he even has the Facebook account (its set to 100% private), and the 5-year-old knows about neither. This might seem crazy, but here’s the reason.
It give me as their parent control of their digital identity. I can periodically log in as them and check in to make sure that they online identity is still clean, and fresh, and that nothing suspicious has occurred. When the time comes that they are “ready” to have these things, I can turn them over to them, knowing how they were set up, and knowing that when they got them they were in fact clean.
You tell me, what are your online rules for your kids, and how are you protecting their online identity?