Have you ever heard those words coming out of your mouth? I am sure if you are the parent of a teenager, you probably have. I know I have. My biggest problem with those words is when it comes to something new in life – well, new relatively speaking.
I want my children to do as I say, and not as I do, in regards to internet safety. Now, I will admit this is not the problem it was when I first got broadband internet over ten years ago. Back then I had six kids living at home and the oldest was only 15. I definitely did not want them doing what I was doing.
No, I am not doing anything horrible online. As an adult, though, I allow myself to do some things I would not allow a pre-teen or teenager to do.
Let’s take this scenario. You, the adult, talk to someone online for several months. You have a fairly good repertoire but have never spoken on the phone or met each other. You may have some mutual friends who vouch for the person but you may not.
You are throwing a big party. It is going to be at your house. You invite this person, giving detailed directions to your home and providing both your home number and your mobile number in case the new friend gets lost. You do not think another thing of this.
Here is another scenario. Your 14 year old is chatting with someone online. It may be via IM or it may be via email. This goes on for some time. Your child tells you that this person is another teenager that lives a couple of towns over. Suddenly, your child wants to, without an adult accompanying him, meet the online friend. As a parent, you say no. Then, your innocent 14 year old throws your inviting the online friend to the big barbecue.
I can see where the 14 year old would think these situations are the same but are they? Do you allow the 14 year old to do as he wants? OF COURSE NOT!
This is a case of “do as I say, not as I do.” I have had this particular case thrown in my face several times. The top instance is an instance that happened in my life. The 14 year old is not but I will say I get snippy kids when I want to read messages sent to the 15 year old. I do this frequently. It is part of the agreement that he can use the computer. I can check whenever I want.
Another issue is web cams. How do we deal with this? This video might help explain it. It is funny but also scary. Happens that all those involved are adults but who says some kid is not watching this or on Chatroulette.
How do you explain internet safety to your children? How do you explain it to yourself? Do you think adults should have different rules on internet safety than children or young adults?