Technological entertainment is a way of life for much of today’s societies. As I am a gamer myself, how am I to restrict social interaction from my eight-year-old who is coming into her own gaming? Thanks to the efforts of Disney, Sony, and a slew of other developers interaction for young children on the Internet is getting excessively safer. Should I hide her from playing massive-multiplayer-online-roleplaying-games (MMORPGs) because some parents are inept to monitoring their child’s activities on the Internet? Negative.
We live in a rural area where there really isn’t much to do in terms of social interaction. Aside from school, my daughter has made a great deal of friends online and behaves appropriately. You see, her desk is six feet behind me in plain sight. Currently, she doesn’t fret about privacy. Why do I let this continue given the horror stories from parents?
1. Gatekeeper – As my children are growing ever curious about a variety of games at the moment, we use my wife’s email address to register any accounts created. Because of my geek-like nature, I have many ways I monitor website activity on the network. If a site comes up that hasn’t been authorized by the parents, it gets blocked until it’s scrutinized. Since the computers are all in one location, it’s quite easy to keep an eye on what is being played at all times.
2. Knowledge – Most accidents are caused by those who don’t know any better. If you teach a child to respect a situation, it becomes a habit of what not to do and what is acceptable. Sheltering your child from knowledge will only create a bad situation if and when it happens for they won’t know how to deal with it. Just because you don’t allow a certain activity within your home, doesn’t mean that your child won’t have friends where it’s acceptable in their house. If you give your child knowledge about it now, they can make the right decisions when away from the home.
3. Trust the Software – As a parent scrutinizes television programming for appropriate content within their homes, I scrutinize websites my children are interested in visiting. Using Google search, I look for any complaints parents have of the game content and actually play some of these myself to make sure it is OK for the children. Many of these younger-audience games will implement chat restrictions preventing certain language and buzz words from being used within a child-friendly environment. However, some have drawbacks by not allowing some higher level words from being used by a player.
4. Trust the Child – As long as you are active in the child’s life, you’d be amazed at how much knowledge is absorbed by him or her. As I am extremely active in the development of my children, I can see the effects as my children understand what is acceptable online behavior and what isn’t. Periodically, I’ll watch over her shoulder from my desk and see how well she interacts with others in the games she plays. I am overcome with pride most of the time as she makes informed decisions when interacting with other children online.
If we were to run and shelter ourselves from everything that caused a bad situation, we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves. Instead of banning certain situations within the home, I’ve chosen to teach my children the difference between what’s appropriate and what’s not. So far, it has been working for us quite well. I closely monitor my children’s Internet use and we regularly discuss the dangers of situations. How well do you trust your children with Internet activity?
This post is contributed by Christine Maddox. Currently she is pursuing her Master’s degree from University of Texas as well as blogging for www.4nannies.com. She loves to write anything related to parenting, kids, nanny care etc. She can be reached via email at: christine.4nannies @ gmail.com.