Though I think the internet is about 85% great and 15% gak-awful-horror, my ratios change quite a bit when I think about my kids being on it.
I mean, have you ever read the comments on a YouTube video? Even an adorable :10 film of a puppy chasing a kitten will have someone saying, “Your a f*cker and suc* donkey b*lls”. Doesn’t anyone remember that “you’re” needs an apostrophe? Makes me weep for humanity.
In our home, we have parental controls on everything from the laptops to my iPhone. The kids know that YouTube is verboten unless I am with them. And only my 11 year old has an email account, and no way/no how are they getting on Facebook anytime soon.
But, they are now old enough to leave the house on their own, those darned growing-up kids. And, I no longer accompany them on every play date. They even have friends with their own devices: iPod Touches, iPads, and access to their home computers.
So now what? If I find them huddled around a device in my presence, I tell them to shut it off and go outside to play. But, when I’m not there? Now what?
I’ve thought about approaching parents and asking, “Do you have parental controls on your kids’ devices?” But then I think I’ll go from being That Weird Homeschooling Parent, to That Weird Overprotective, Nosy, Pushy Homeschooling Parent (who doesn’t let her kids read The Hunger Games).
My husband has asked a friend for a copy of the Internet Contract he’s had his kids sign. I like this idea though I think any memory of a “contract” probably goes out the window as soon as a friend says, “You’ve GOT to see this!“
How do you mamas of older kids handle this? Do you tell your kids’ friends to put away the devices in your home? Host every play date so they are always under your roof? Lock them in their room until they are 18? (Oh I could never do that. I read Flowers in the Attic.)
But, seriously, I’d really appreciate your input on this one. When my oldest expressed frustration at me when I was talking this over with her, I said, “Listen, this is new territory. There WAS NO INTERNET when I was a child.“
“Wait? Not even email?”
Sigh. These kids don’t really understand.
What are your internet rules?
March 28, 2012