By Ayanna Black
After watching this week’s episode of “The Game” I started thinking about kids and the Internet. In this week’s episode, Kelly loses her reality show because her ex-husband has a court order to stop the use of his name. Since she can no longer use his name or likeness on her show she attempts to film other football stars to no avail.
Finally out of frustration or desperation to keep her show, Kelly seductively dances at a listening party for a recording artist which gets plastered all over the Internet. In response, her 13-year-old daughter Britney posts pictures of herself in a bikini on a Facebook-like site to embarrass her parents.
Obviously, the real problem in this situation was the mom’s behavior which caused her daughter to post the inappropriate photos. However, the big question is should she even be allowed to have an account on the Internet that allows photo sharing at 13?
I personally know a mom who won’t allow her 13-year-old to get a Facebook page due to all the drama that surrounds it. Social networking sites virtually allow you to be whoever or whatever you want to be and allows almost anyone (young/old, gay/straight, Democratic/Republican or whatever) access to your child and what they share. Most 13-year-olds and even older kids aren’t emotionally mature enough to handle the Internet. I don’t blame the mom for not allowing her child to get a Facebook page because the Internet can be a scary thing for a parent. Unfortunately there have been kids that have committed suicide over things posted about them or someone they care about. So it’s important to not allow things that we can control intensify our kids growing pains.
So with that said if we find that our children are on the Iinternet, whether for school assignments or recreation, there are a few things we can do to try to protect them:
1) We can hold website owners accountable. There is a federal law in place that states site owners must get parent’s permission in order to allow your child access to data on their site if they are 13 or younger. This website offers a specific case in which Sony Music was in violation of the law.
2) Monitor your kids’ Internet use. It is very easy to check your browser’s history to see what sites your child has viewed and in most cases how long. You can even go into your Internet security settings and block certain sites from your browser.
3) Know the passwords to your child’s accounts. This is a good way to stay on top of what your child is communicating. This may seem a bit invasive to some and signal a sign of distrust, but for a child 13 and younger and their safety, they don’t need that much privacy when others in the world can access them outside of your view. (That’s my take on it.)
For me it’s just too much going on on the Internet to leave my children unattended on it. For more information on free ways to protect your child on the Internet, visit my blog post on Free Ways To Keep Kids Safe On The Internet. Let’s do what we can to keep our kids safe on the Internet.
Does your child have a Facebook page? If so, do you monitor what your child posts?
Ayanna is a married mom of busy triplets in Chicago. She’s a freelance parenting/marriage and technology blogger. Ayanna and her husband Damion are a featured couple in Ebony Magazine’s “Partner Project.” Ayanna is also the proud owner of ABlackWebDesign.com.