As a teacher (and as a parent) I have to teach my students/children to be critical thinkers. Where did this information come from? Is this person knoweldgeable, credible? Is this person I am chatting with actually a sixteen year old girl? As a mother it scares the daylights out of me. It is my responsibility to ensure that all children under my care understand the long reaching implications of the internet.
I am sure every generation says this: "Children are growing up too fast these days." But of all generations I think computer age children are at most risk for this. Unfortunately, an innocent inquiry on a search engine may produce the most disturbing results. Young children are being exposed to sights and sounds that their minds are not mature enough to process. That is where loving, caring adults must step in.
I feel it is the duty of every adult to help educate our children. I believe in the old saying that "it takes a village to raise a child." I feel that it is the responsibility of all adults to monitor what chidren are doing on the computer. You may call me old but I have many rules in my house with regards to electronics. There is NO TV in my children's bedrooms - nor will there ever be. When they go to bed they must surrender their cel phones. Laptop computers are used in common areas only where anyone walking by can see what site they are on. And I check in reqularly when they are on the computer. I have been in too many high school classes where children afe falling asleep. While this is a naturally occurring phenomenon among growing teen agers, it is becoming more of an issue due to texting or gaming until the wee hours of the morning.
Now, I am not stupid, believe it or not I was a teenager once who did not follow all of the rules. Shocking, I know! I know kids have code for when parents are lurking/creeping. I know that my kids will access the internet when I am not around. But I hope that I am giving them enough guidance that when they are on their own there will be a little voice in their head saying "do the right thing." I want to be that voice.