Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Internet Surprises


I recently went onto Youtube for my kids. 

It was not something I was excited to do since you never know what you’ll get with Youtube.  

The internet itself can be pretty shady.

But it was a Saturday and we were having lunch together when all of a sudden the three of them said in unison some silly phrase. Then two minutes later they did it again, but the phrase was different.

I laughed it off… sort of. They were all cracking up quite a bit and informed me that I would not understand and that it was from a cartoon they’d seen. I asked where they saw it and which one it was?

They said the cartoon and that they saw it on the internet.

OH MY.
I don’t know about you, but when I hear that type of statement come out of my child’s mouth, I immediately listen more intently and begin asking for details. 

Here are the questions that I begin asking:

What site was it on?
Where did they hear about the site?
When did they see this?
With  whom did they see it with?

Once I had all of those answers,  I non-chalantly got up from the table and  turned on the computer. 
I looked up their site and watched a couple of skits. I was determined to figure out what garbage they were finding.

During each one, I cringed while I waited for the videos to start. At every word I wondered if I should be ready at any time to shut it off, for fear the character would say or do something inappropriate. 

Then I realized, ‘Hey! These kids told ME about this site, apparently they’ve already watched it, and as much as I don’t want to, I am going to watch it as well, just so I know what they are watching!’.

It sort of creeped me out as I watched. Maybe because I didn’t know what to expect and was paranoid reading into every statement wondering what the catch was. 

Why did someone create this series of videos on Youtube? Who put this together and what is the purpose.
You know, I never found it to be bad, and I watched three of them. I wondered if the 4th one would reveal  something, but I was so bored, I shut it off.

No matter how I looked at it, it was harmless.

False alarm, I guess.

But, what if it wasn’t?

The internet is full of great educational websites and it’s free to our  children as long as they can access a computer, but similarly, there is a ton of trash and you never know what you're going to get.

At the time, they did not have free access to the internet in my home. Only at their father’s house.
Since then, we have gotten the internet and its use is little (mainly for school projects but I’ve approved a  couple of girl-game sites I’ve been to with them). 

The internet can be useful but scary.

We need to make kids aware, educate them, set limitations, and make time to check out what they ‘do’ on the internet.
Kids grow up so quickly and when they do, we often think that they need too much of their own space. So we are afraid to ask questions, for fear of crossing boundaries.

True. It is a very fine line between being nosey and annoying your kids with your questions, and seeming interested in them and their life. But, honestly if we are doing this with them from a young age, they will not think anything of it. It is genuine interest in the child, as well as security. 


It's our job to keep kids safe, and that includes on the internet.
 

Truly,
Amber

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