Do you sit by your 5-7 year old when he/she is online?

Last week I attended a talk on internet safety by Marian Merrit of Symantec.  She gave a great overview of the challenges that face kids and parents today online -- cyberbullying, bullying, predators, hate groups, sexting, identity theft, online addiction, all that good stuff.  She also gave some great tips on how parents can help teach their kids to navigate through today's digital world.  You can download a free copy of her Family Online Safety Guide here:

 

http://www.symantec.com/norton/familyresources/resources.jsp?title=online_safety_guide

 

There are a lot of tips and suggestions that Alfie and I are taking to heart.  Some are just common sense, like teaching your child not to share passwords with their friends, limiting online time and so on.  But one of Marian's  recommendations kind of made my heart sink:

 

(from page 7, in the section for Elementary School Children, ages 5-7)

Ideally, when your children are this age, you will be actively involved with their online activites the same way you are with their homework.  For example, you should make sure the computer your child uses is within your view. Parental control software can help you by limiting the sites your child can access, even when you aren't around.

 

Oooookay.... I'm feeling some bad-mother guilt here.  Basically, my kids have a list of sites that they're allowed to access -- Webkinz, NeoPets, Sesame Street, Nickelodeon, etc....  These sites are on their browsers' "Favorites" list, so they never type in an address.  Do I honestly have to sit with them and watch them navigating through Webkinz world, feeding their pets and spinning roulette wheels and other mind-numbing things like that?   Am I just being lazy by leaving them to their devices so I can go do other things that need to get done while they're out of the way?  I read books with them and play games with them, but constant hovering isn't my style.   Can I rely on parental control software to do the hovering for me?

 

 

 

 

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