Your Questions About Internet Safety For Teens

Linda asks…

Internet safety for my teen – How to properly end a story?

Last year, my 14 years old daughter broke the rule of “No contact with someone you haven’t seen with your own eyes”. Her internet access was removed for a year.

We gave her back internet last May 1st without MSN Messenger access. By using e-mails, she started to chat with this other 17 years old male teen. She gave him our phone number (he never called) and even accepted to go to his friend’s house (she wrote back saying the address he gave was wrong). How I know all this? easy: *I* am that other teen.

I created him and, like any other pedophile would do, told her what she wanted to hear. I find it unbelievable that she was ready to go inside a complete stranger’s house!

Now, the question: Where do I go with this? How would you end this story? Another long discussion? Simply remove internet for another year? somehow scare her to death?

Specify if you’re an adult or teenager. I’d love to hear comments/suggestions from teenagers as well!

richmama answers:

Taking away the computer doesn’t seem to be working… Talk to her, get her to understand why, she can’t do it… Otherwise she’ll still do it, just at the school/library/friends house. Sorry but just be telling her she can’t do it won’t stop her… You’ve got to make her understand why…

Donna asks…

Is there any online games for teens – MUST READ BEFORE POST?

Is there any online games for teens that teach you about internet safety and is fun? please no babyish websites like minyanland and woogiworld. Thank you.

richmama answers:

If you enable parental controls and family gamer status, you can play on Xbox Live without communicating verbally (auditory or text) with other players on any teen-rated game. However, there’s always the exceptionally perverse names that’ll pop up in game; so it’s not full proof.

The other players always have opportunities to abuse the system, so parental controls/family gamer on Xbox Live is the best I can think of. Applying the same kind of muting settings for Playstation or the Wii would work as well.

There honestly aren’t any educational computer games that’ll teach a teenager about internet safety. And if there are, they aren’t going to be fun. They might be funny, but the overwhelming amounts of teaching will be immediately evident to a teenager and probably overshadow any earnest engagement they’d have with the game…

Ruth asks…

Do you think MySpace is dangerous?

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says it’s received at least 288 MySpace-related complaints of inappropriate Internet activity– stats that Internet safety experts agree show teens aren’t being careful enough online.

richmama answers:

I’d blame it on parents but unfortunately kids can go to any internet cafe or friends house and get on myspace…and they’re going to if you don’t let them.

Just as well let them use it if they want and talk to them about the dangers of meeting strangers on there.

That’s something you should be teaching your kid anyway.

The media likes to oversensationalize this kind of thing. Last year it was shark attacks this year it’s myspace. Girls get raped on college campuses too it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send your kid off to college.

Mandy asks…

For “family safety” on the Internet, which is best, and why?

Bsecure (formerly Bsafe)

Net Nanny

OpenDNS

Also, which of the above would be the most difficult for a computer savvy teen to bypass or hack?

Thanks!

richmama answers:

Either my wife or I sat right there with them when they got onto the computer. No teenager can shut down their parents, they didn’t like it but I didn’t care. There is to many creeps online today and teens have no clue of safety and danger what so ever. We had 8 kids and one computer it was in my home office. This office was locked up when I was gone and there was an alarm and if went off my cell phone would ring also. I had set times for each of them to use the computer for their home work. My wife had set time for them to use the computer just for fun. Both of us had set amount of time for each kid. We had a schedule set up for them so they knew when it was their turn.
Yes, it was a pain but we knew what they were doing at all times. If we as parents didn’t protect them then who would of?
These programs that they have today like Net Nanny the kids get right into them very easy. My son got into all these programs within 4 minutes. So with my wife or I sitting there; there was not problem and there was no worry.

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