Protecting our kids online

Parenting today comes with challenges never before experienced due to the rapid expansion of technology and its influence on our kids. I thought we were doing a pretty good job of monitoring our daughter's online activity, but we found out that despite our efforts, we needed to do more.  While at a friend's house, our daughter created a webpage/blog on a social networking site that we didn't even know existed. We found her page by googling her name.

We were bothered by the fact that she had not asked for permission, nor had she told us about this page. What really shocked us was that she put her contact information on the top of her profile, and invited her followers (most of whom were strangers) to contact her.

We had a long talk with our daughter about how dangerous this is, and she agreed to delete the account. The problem? She always logged on via her ipod touch, and once she signed out, she couldn't remember her password. She did not set up the account on her personal email, but used a friend's. Guess what? Her friend no longer has that account. This means that we cannot delete the account.

My husband and I have contacted the online site multiple times to no avail. There is no phone number listed on the site, and no one has answered our emails.

Why am I sharing this with you? I want parents everywhere to realize that it no longer matters that your child is a minor. They can navigate the internet and post information on the world wide web without your permission. I don't know about you, but this scares me to death. There are predators out there who are real threats to our kids. If we don't protect them, who will?

What are you doing to keep your kids cyber safe?
Tears to Joy: Protecting our kids online

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Protecting our kids online

Parenting today comes with challenges never before experienced due to the rapid expansion of technology and its influence on our kids. I thought we were doing a pretty good job of monitoring our daughter's online activity, but we found out that despite our efforts, we needed to do more.  While at a friend's house, our daughter created a webpage/blog on a social networking site that we didn't even know existed. We found her page by googling her name.

We were bothered by the fact that she had not asked for permission, nor had she told us about this page. What really shocked us was that she put her contact information on the top of her profile, and invited her followers (most of whom were strangers) to contact her.

We had a long talk with our daughter about how dangerous this is, and she agreed to delete the account. The problem? She always logged on via her ipod touch, and once she signed out, she couldn't remember her password. She did not set up the account on her personal email, but used a friend's. Guess what? Her friend no longer has that account. This means that we cannot delete the account.

My husband and I have contacted the online site multiple times to no avail. There is no phone number listed on the site, and no one has answered our emails.

Why am I sharing this with you? I want parents everywhere to realize that it no longer matters that your child is a minor. They can navigate the internet and post information on the world wide web without your permission. I don't know about you, but this scares me to death. There are predators out there who are real threats to our kids. If we don't protect them, who will?

What are you doing to keep your kids cyber safe?

3 Comments:

At September 7, 2013 at 7:53 PM , Blogger Heather said...

For awhile I explored the world of online dating... then one day I got a call at work from a detective who was investigating a guy who I had been emailing back and forth with. It turns out that this guy had been soliciting young girls for "relationships". The police found my work number in his cell phone contacts and called to see if I was, like many of the others they had contacted, underage. I assured them that I was an adult - but also told them I had never given him my number. He had been able to easily connect the dots to my blog and then my employer. The point is... it's a scary world out there and we can never really know if people are who they say they are and if there motives are harmless. I spend a lot of time online and I'll be happy to try to research and figure out a way to get her name off that site if you'll private message me the link. And feel free to share Aunt Heather's story with JJ. Love you guys! Heather

 
At September 9, 2013 at 1:44 PM , Blogger Scott said...

We actually had a similar occurrence with our 11-year-old (she was 10 at the time). I discovered she'd opened an account on ask.fm. This is a site devoted to people, anyone, asking you questions.

She'd only had it up for a week, but I explained to her that this under no circumstances should never happen again. She has an Instagram account set to private with strict instructions not to friend anyone she doesn't know personally. If the request is from an adult she has to run it by me first. Failure to abide by these brings my nuclear option – Instagram account deleted immediately and iPod taken away until I feel like giving it back.

I also explained to her that there are adults out there who specifically want to find ways to talk with children online so they can hurt them and take them away from their families, even kill them. She said I was scaring her. My response? "Good."

 
At September 9, 2013 at 10:45 PM , Blogger Melody said...

Thanks for sharing Natalie. It really helps to hear other people's stories. It's a scary thing this digital world and our kids. I think prayer is crucial in this process. As well as password protection. We password protect ev.er.y.thing. Meaning we know the password. Yes, they can change a password easily but that's an immediate loss of the device for a very long time. I read an article recently that stated a high percentage (i can't remember specifically) of kids create a new email address for the purpose of setting up new accounts without their parents knowledge. Lots of kids are doing this. It might even seem innocent if the child hasn't been told they can't create a new account. And many parents don't have that conversation because they don't know that's what kids do. Having these conversations is crucial with our kids. And parents being willing to have these conversations with each other is crucial too. Thanks so much for sharing.

 

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