The well known Actress Julianne Moore made headlines recently when she admitted to ‘stalking her kids online’, she argued that “You don’t get to have privacy when you’re only 16!” Of course there were many Parents who congratulated her for being an ‘on the ball’ digital parent, and of course there were others who accused her of obsessive parenting and ridiculed her attempt to shield her children from the internet.
Whether you’re for or against, you have to agree that this celebrity mother brought up some important questions for parents. Should you monitor your children online? If so, how, and to what degree? This issue is not one that parents can simply ignore. Not only are our children online, but they’re carrying the web around in their pockets, making the reality of keeping tabs on their behaviour difficult, to say the very least.
Privacy and the Internet, it doesn’t exist
The uncomfortable fact is that even if Juliann Moore thought her kids deserved privacy online, she couldn’t offer it to them. One of the most convincing cases for “helicopter parenting” in the digital / internet world is the fact that nothing is private online and one regrettable selfie or ill-thought-out status update could easily come back to haunt our kids for weeks or even years. If you’re not watching your kids online, you can be damn sure others are. For example, possible future employers, online predators or bullies. The only real advice you can offer your children if they proclaim they want their privacy online is that it doesn’t exist
Don’t Let Your Teenager Fail Online
Many child rearing experts will tell you that your children need to experience the “natural consequences” of their choices in order to truly learn from their mistakes. Of course this is true when it comes to completing a school project or choosing to watch TV rather than practice for doing homework, however this advice doesn’t apply to the Internet. Why? Because the repercussions of an online mistake can be very harsh. What your kid says or reveals online can’t be taken back easily . Of course, you can remove a post from a social media network, but you can’t retrieve it from everyone who has saved or shared it before delete it. Moreover, online mistakes can lead to offline problems such as humiliation, bullying, social isolation etc.
Childcare and Internet Safety
Of course, it’s not possible to shield your child from online dangers all of the time. Even if you install parental control software you can’t keep children or teens from using someone else’s computer, tablet or smart phone .That’s why education is the key component to keeping your children safe on the web. Engage with your kids about the dangers that exist online. Tell them not to share personal information on the Internet, and let them know that they can approach you if they encounter anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.
You may just want to stick your head in the sand and ignore this whole situation about teenager’s online . What you don’t know can’t hurt!!? Unfortunately, it’s precisely what you don’t know that could put your child in harm’s way. So it is incumbent on you the Parent to start that conversation and avoid any pain down the road.