6th May, 2010 - Posted by Gerry @ Families4Life - 1 Comment
How to Protect Your Family from The Evils of The Internet
Now that I have got your attention…I really would like to say that the Internet is, in itself, a fantastic (and great) innovation of the 21st Century.
I think, You and I would agree that the Internet has brought about a lot of good for society. However, on the flip side, there has unfortunately been instances of lives ruined as a result of the Internet’s mis-use.
There is an old expression that goes something like this…”Get your brain in gear before your mouth’s in motion”! – simply meaning before you shoot your mouth off have a think about what you are going to say. This applies a lot to what we might think about people. Sometimes we are quick to say something about someone without thinking what we are saying.
Equally, I have heard people say they hit the e-mail’s “Send” button without thinking. Sometimes we can write an email in a hurry, or in the heat of the moment, and send the email. The moment after we send the email we realise (with an uncomfortable creepy feeling down our neck and back) we have done the wrong thing!!
Now the point with all this is we are finding with our own children (and their peers) that the whole Internet thing is not all that it is cracked up to be! Last week, I spoke about us having our children “coinciding with this new age of Technology, the Information Super Highway and the Internet” – this is all well and good, but there are serious issues emerging with the use of Facebook, chat rooms, cell phones and so on.
A friend of ours with teenage children said he purchased a mobile phone (cell phone) for his 15 year old boy (the oldest child). The deal was: the boy was to maintain the phone costs himself. Our friend’s son started to get into the texting with his school mates (apparently they could text each other for free). Our friend and his wife were concerned about the texting so they checked the cell phone and found that in the space of 6 months the cell phone had sent and received 8,000 text messages (many were 2-3 word messages only).
Texting, Facebook, emails, chat rooms, etc can claim credit to a new generation of short-hand typing!
I guess my point with all this is we (the parents) should not take the Internet and Communication technologies for granted especially when they are being used by our children.
Things we need to consider:
- your children can sign up for Facebook as long as you are one of their “Friends” – if not, then you cannot keep a watchful eye over them
- what age is appropriate for your child…this is a case by case thing I think
- what age should you give your child a mobile / cell phone
- rules of engagement when children are given access to the Internet etc
- both parents should discuss these things, and come up with a plan
- daily time limits set for “Screen” time – total allowed time on all screens including TV, computer, phones, etc
- are we doing our honest best to do what is right for the children
I brought the whole Internet / Computer business up in a previous post last week. Have a look at some of the other tips to do with managing your family and the Internet.
Joanne, my wife, and I are a on fairly steep learning curve with the whole Internet thing, I guess we are doing best we can with our own Family.
I really think that we need to challenge our own “status quo” thinking and keep questioning whether we are doing the right thing! Part of this questioning process involves asking other parents “What do you do?”. Make sure you are open to their ideas and ways of doing things, at least hear them out!
Now I am not suggesting you have to do the same as it may not work for you and your family. If some of these things are unworkable can you let me know why (below in the Comments)?
Yours in Family,
Gerry Faehrmann, Expert Facilitator