71% of teens hide their online activities from their parents

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Spacers's picture
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71% of teens hide their online activities from their parents

A new study called ?The Digital Divide: How the Online Behavior of Teens is Getting Past Parents? (conducted by Tru Research and commissioned by McAfee) shows an alarming 70% of teens have hidden their online behavior from their parents, up from 45% in 2010. And yet half of parents live under the assumption that their teen tells them everything he/she does online.

It?s perfectly normal for teens to be less than forthcoming during these years when their hormones are raging and teen angst boggles their brain and body. However the Internet has drastically changed our culture and teens today have access to an incredible amount of information that they didn?t have, just a decade ago.
This instant access to information and digital devices is having an impact on our teens that many of us as parents don?t realize. Some of the revealing consequences are:

  • Friendships ? 20% of teens said they had ended a friendship with someone because of something that happened on a social network.
  • Physical safety ? 7% feared for their safety because of something that happened online, and 5% reported getting into a physical fight because of a problem that started online. More than 1 in 10 (12%) of teens have met someone in real life that they only knew online.
  • Criminal record ? 15% said they have hacked someone?s social networking account and 31% have pirated music and movies.
  • Cheating ? 48% of teens admitted to looking for test answers online, and 16% have used a smartphone to do this.
  • Innocence - 46% of teens report accidentally accessing pornography online and 32% reported accessing pornography intentionally.

And what about the parents? The study showed:

  • 1 in 3 believes their teen to be much more tech-savvy then they are, leaving them feeling helpless to keep up with their teen?s online behaviors.
  • 22% of parents do not believe their kids can get into trouble online.
  • Less than 1 in 10 parents are aware their teens are hacking accounts or downloading pirated content.
  • 78% of parents are not worried about their kids cheating at school.
  • Only 12% of parents thought their children accessed pornography online.

You can download the full report and read more of the McAfee security blogger's thoughts here: Do You Know What Your Teens Are Doing Online? | Blog Central

Another study found that teens who engage in "sexting" are much more likely to engage in other risky sexual behaviors, like unprotected sex. Peer pressure seems to be at play with this one, because teens who report sexting are 17 times more likely to have a friend who also sext.

Sexting Linked to Sexual Activity in Teens - ABC News

What do you think? It seems like every parent says they're the ones putting on parental controls, checking their kids' accounts, talking about internet safety, talking about privacy & safe sex, etc. And yet nearly 3/4 of the teens polled said they've been successful at hiding their online activities from their parents, and half of them know someone who has sexted. What to do, as a parent, as a society?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
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This is one area where I believe it takes a village. My children are not quite old enough for this to be a problem (although I know it is coming soon), however many of my nieces and nephews and my MIL's foster children are. The worst offenders I know are my In-law's foster children. My In laws are 67 and 70 and are just not up on all the on-line problems. I have more than once called MIL up and said "X" is happening. In other situations I would stay out of their parenting decisions. In this situation though, I know it is because they are unaware. I have seen the 15 year old post in dating websites that are for and full of adults. In the same way, when my girls are older I expect my SIL's and BIL's to let me know if anything suspicious shows up on line. If they block a post from me, I would depend on friends and family to tell me. I also plan to do all of the safe internet things mentioned in the previous posts.

SID081108's picture
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Yikes. I'm so not ready for teenagers.

Joined: 03/08/03
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Okay, the "sexting" thing is just silly. (That word cracks me up, by the way.)

As I suspected and then read it right in the article, the sexting isn't leading to sex, the sex is leading to sexting. If they're already having sex, they're more likely to send sexually explicit texts, that's hardly a revelation. Makes for a nice headline, though.

The rest of it. . .I think online or off, parents have to be parents. It doesn't matter where these things are happening; they've always happened and there are kids who get into situations that lead to trouble and kids who don't, and an open dialogue is the key, as always, and sometimes there are things you just can't control.

I agree with Bonita, too, that it takes a village both online and off. It's just about learning to navigate the new landscape.

I really think it all comes out to the same stats whether or not it's online. The issues are parents, teens, teenage sex, etc., not social networks and the internet. Social networks make it easier in some ways, but also easier to track because parents can actually find the stuff. The internet has made porn a lot more accessible, that's the big change I think, but otherwise it's all the same basic issues around teens, parenting, and all that comes with it.

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
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Both Sean and I are former computer techs and so we have the ability to lock things down and do tracking that most parents don't have the skills for.

We were visiting my sister a few years ago and she had us do some computer work for her. We found tons of porn on the computer and she was shocked (I wasn't, she has 5 boys) and said it was not her boys must have been on the computer before.... we put a key logger on the system and told her which of her boys it was. She is still in denial over it...

Even with our computer skills I am sure Robbie will try and pull some stuff on us and may even succeed.

Joined: 08/17/04
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I'm not surprised. I think any parent who thinks that their teenager isn't doing anything sneaky is delusional. Parents often think because they put these controls on that they get a free pass from monitoring. Not so.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
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Not surprised at all. We talk pretty openly about what is on the net, my kids are so far totally disgusted, but I am sure they may be curious in the next few years. I am hoping to keep the dialogue open, and hoping they will come to me with any questions.

That being said, my BF's hubby is a network engineer and just generally a hacker. He put some stuff on our computer to watch for this, and he lets us know if there is anything we should know about. And our kids will not have smart phones for a long long time, cheating on tests is one thing I find absolutely deplorable

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
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Definitely not surprised. Our computer is in our main room of our house and the kids dont have mobile phones yet but a lot of emmas friends do. It's impossible to watch them constantly and they have a lot of tone to sneak around. There is no easy way to prevent that. I agree with Laurie. Open dialogue is important. Problem I have is that Emma is not naturally an open talker. Even if I build an environment where she should feel comfortable talking to me about things, she didn't very willingly discuss stuff. That worries me. Not that I think she is doing anything bad right now, but just going forward I will constantly worry that we are not something that should be addressed simply because I don't know about it.

SID081108's picture
Joined: 06/03/09
Posts: 1348

My kids will never (unless pigs fly and I therefore change my mind) have a computer in their room. I do feel strongly about having a family computer that is in a main area, making it less private. I also agree with what others have said that kids WILL sneak around, and that I need to find a way to keep the conversation open. But yeah, thinking of my girls as teenagers is scary!!

Kim, I was like Emma...I loved my mom but didn't want to talk to her about boys, sex, or lots of other stuff. She desperately wanted me to, and would always try to open the conversation, but I just didn't like to talk to her about it. Luckily, I always hated the thought of hurting my parents, so that is what primarily kept me on the straight and narrow.

KimPossible's picture
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Just want to say sorry for the terrible non-sensical post. Carrie, i'm impressed that you could even understand it. I typed it on my mobile phone and auto-correct butchered it.

I'll fix it later. i actually don't have the time to now!

Joined: 05/31/06
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Unless you confiscate phones at all times within the house most teens will at some point have internet access within their rooms.

None of this really surprises me. We plan on doing our best. We are about to turn our sunroom, right off the kitchen into a homework room for the kids with built in desks, so the computers (that they don't even have yet) will be front and center. Its an ever changing landscape and parents are doing their best. I'm glad that DH is in technology and that we are fairly computer savvy ~ we really work hard to keep open communication with our kids and we aren't the shaming sort, so hopefully that will work out for us, but who knows. Our kids are young. Fingers crossed.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"Potter75" wrote:

Unless you confiscate phones at all times within the house most teens will at some point have internet access within their rooms.

I know several parents of older kids that do not buy their kids phones with internet capabilities for this reason. Technology is changing so who knows what it will be when my girls are older, but I do not think I would allow my girls to have a smartphone until they are way older.

Joined: 03/08/03
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I suspect kids who really want them will buy them for themselves.

I just think the only hope we have as parents is open dialogue vs. trying to keep up with technology & restricting access. There's no guarantee either way, but I think the better bet is lots of conversation and openness vs. trying to control something that so elusive.

SID081108's picture
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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

I suspect kids who really want them will buy them for themselves.

And pay the monthly data access fee with what money? When my kids are old enough to have a job, they will be old enough to have a smart phone. They will also be old enough to have gained quite a bit of independence and start making their own decisions (to a point). Prior to that, I don't see myself providing them a smartphone...but as Bonita said, it really depends on what things are like then (for example, if they feel like at 12 years old they are the only kids on the planet that don't have a smartphone, then we'll discuss Smile

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I started babysitting at 12 and had a formal job from 14 on. I think that by the time our children are 16, 17 it would be very uncommon for your child to not have some sort of connectivity available to them in their room. But hey, pigs may fly! I'm just a realist on this one.

I never had a TV or computer in my room, but I think that when I was 16 I got my own phone (land line) in my room. I can see my child wanting that. My oldest is 6.........10 years from now will phones even be available withOUT some sort of data plan? I doubt it. I'm just not willing to say "never" on things when I can't even envision where technology will be in 10 or 13 years when my kids are 16.

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"SID081108" wrote:

And pay the monthly data access fee with what money? When my kids are old enough to have a job, they will be old enough to have a smart phone. They will also be old enough to have gained quite a bit of independence and start making their own decisions (to a point). Prior to that, I don't see myself providing them a smartphone...but as Bonita said, it really depends on what things are like then (for example, if they feel like at 12 years old they are the only kids on the planet that don't have a smartphone, then we'll discuss Smile

At 15, I had a part time job. Getting the cheapest plan is certainly within reach. There are always ways around restrictive rules like that, trust me. The same kids who wear what their parents want them to wear and then change when they get to school into clothes they've stuffed into their backpacks will find a way to access the internet & social networks without their parents knowing.

I'm only saying that keeping them away from phones is not, in my opinion, the most effective strategy, and it is likely to backfire.

mom2robbie's picture
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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

I suspect kids who really want them will buy them for themselves.

Here you have to be 18 to have a cell signed up in your own name.

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"mom2robbie" wrote:

Here you have to be 18 to have a cell signed up in your own name.

I just think there are ways around everything. The drinking age is 21 but kids get alcohol. There are under age drinkers and smokers everywhere.

We have gotten those pre-approved credit card forms in the mail addressed to my kids...they are 9 and 5.

I'm not encouraging these things, but I'm saying that thinking you can prevent these problems by not buying smart phones for your children is naive.

mom2robbie's picture
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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

I just think there are ways around everything. The drinking age is 21 but kids get alcohol. There are under age drinkers and smokers everywhere.

We have gotten those pre-approved credit card forms in the mail addressed to my kids...they are 9 and 5.

I'm not encouraging these things, but I'm saying that thinking you can prevent these problems by not buying smart phones for your children is naive.

There are ways but you do need photo id, social insurance number and a credit check - I have had credit checks come back underage when I was a manager of a cell store.

I will restrict things as long as possible but my kid is already programming computers at almost 8 years, he will soon surpass my knowledge.

SID081108's picture
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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

I'm not encouraging these things, but I'm saying that thinking you can prevent these problems by not buying smart phones for your children is naive.

As far as I can see, no one ever said they could prevent these problems by not buying smart phones...I most certainly didn't. I don't think there is anyway to "prevent these problems". I even said "I also agree with what others have said that kids WILL sneak around, and that I need to find a way to keep the conversation open. But yeah, thinking of my girls as teenagers is scary!!"

What I don't see myself doing is handing my kids a smart phone at 12, letting them loose with it, and hoping they'll tell me what they're doing/looking at. Not gonna happen. As I said earlier (again), when a kid is old enough to get a job (which at some places is 14, at others 15 or 16), they can get a smartphone as far as I'm concerned. There will absolutely be rules about when they can use it (they won't be up all night texting/talking, etc) We already have an iPad and my daughter lays in her bed at night and reads books on it. When she gets old enough to start snooping around the internet we will have to figure out a reasonable way to manage that.

And the whole example of kids putting clothes in their backpack and changing when they get to school (or putting on makeup, whatever) doesn't mean that you shouldn't set boundaries for your kids. Sure, any kid who wants to can find some way around rules...that's no excuse for me not to have rules and expect them to follow them or be disciplined in some way. That way of thinking just doesn't fly with me.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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I do not think not providing a cell phone with internet for a young teen will completely solve the problem, but it will help. Building a good relationship now while they are young will also help. I think it is a little like saying "While they will break rules anyway, so I am not going to have any."

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3320

If anything, i simply like the idea of kids working towards earning something. I have no strong desire to get the internet into their hands faster or sooner, so i think it makes perfect sense to set this up as something to work towards or earn on their own. Or simply say they have to be older.

Joined: 05/13/02
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The tough thing about the cell phones now is that it's getting to the point where almost every cell phone has data with it. My oldest son (14) does have a phone with a data plan, which he does pay for with the small jobs he does for his grandparents and friends/neighbors. He also has his own laptop. Honestly, with all the work he has to do in high school it's a necessity. I have full access to phone, laptop and iPod, but I'm also not deluding myself to think I can find every little thing he does. We luckily have a great relationship, and he is very open with my and my husband.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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I just saw this on FB and it made me think of this thread.

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[INDENT]Sorry, I think you guys misunderstood me. I don't mean that parents should just give up! All I was trying to say was that you can't keep it out if they want it badly enough. . .just that that alone isn't the most effective strategy. Not saying that everyone is supposed to hand their kid a cell phone and pay for it! [/INDENT]

boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
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These numbers don't surprise me. I think this community of on-line users are more plugged in than most. And more thoughtful about parenting than most. Two of my daughter's 4th, going into 5th, grade friends have internet access on their own phones that their parents pay for. And their parents are NOT monitoring the use.

This year a kid on the school bus showed my five year old "The Walking Dead" on his phone. My son came home scared of his shadow. I found out what was going on and called the other parent and explained what was happening. Her son was in 5th grade. She had no idea what was on his phone or what he was doing it. I was livid and shocked. And she was very casual about it. Guess I should be glad he showed him the walking dead vs. porn?

I think we just keep talking about it with our kids and equipping them to make good choices about how they use technology.

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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

[INDENT]Sorry, I think you guys misunderstood me. I don't mean that parents should just give up! All I was trying to say was that you can't keep it out if they want it badly enough. . .just that that alone isn't the most effective strategy. Not saying that everyone is supposed to hand their kid a cell phone and pay for it! [/INDENT]

Goodness, yes, I'm not saying anything like that either. We are probably more strict with electronics than most on this board with our young kids. I'm simply saying that I think that people who say that they have set "over my dead body" type rules for technology for 13 years from now amaze me. 13 years ago I don't know that I knew anyone who had a digital camera yet.....let alone FB or google on their PHONE. I'm simply not naive enough to make rules as strict as some on this board are for my 16 or 17 year old kids when they are 3 (THREE) and I have no idea how technology will shift over the next 13 years.

I thought it reasonable that my parents found me trust worthy and deserving of being able to talk to my friends in private. I will NOT make my children who can legally DRIVE cars sit in front of their family and have conversations on the phone with their friends, that seems invasive. And 13 years from now I'm willing to bet (anyone?) that phones without connectivity don't exist. So yes, I do see situations in which my kids may have "computers" however they may then look, in their rooms.

Urging realism about rules is the opposite of urging "no rules" in my book.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3320

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

[INDENT]Sorry, I think you guys misunderstood me. I don't mean that parents should just give up! All I was trying to say was that you can't keep it out if they want it badly enough. . .just that that alone isn't the most effective strategy. Not saying that everyone is supposed to hand their kid a cell phone and pay for it! [/INDENT]

Oh i agree with you. I didn't think you were saying we should just give up!

Joined: 03/08/03
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"KimPossible" wrote:

Oh i agree with you. I didn't think you were saying we should just give up!

Bonita and Carrie seemed to think so. I just wanted to make it clear that's not what I meant.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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Reference to Sex Ed.

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

Bonita and Carrie seemed to think so. I just wanted to make it clear that's not what I meant.

It did seem to me that is what you were all saying. Well, they are going to do it anyway so better let them. I have heard the argument a lot with sex (Not saying I agree or not, but making the comparison). "They are going to do it no matter what, so lets make it safe by providing condoms and sex-ed."

Every family is going to have their own way of parenting these issues. Neither way is "right" or "wrong", just different.

I do not think it is unreasonable to say that computer activity has to be done in a main room or that as the parent you have unlimited access to all technology.

Joined: 03/08/03
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

It did seem to me that is what you were all saying. Well, they are going to do it anyway so better let them. I have heard the argument a lot with sex (Not saying I agree or not, but making the comparison). "They are going to do it no matter what, so lets make it safe by providing condoms and sex-ed."

Every family is going to have their own way of parenting these issues. Neither way is "right" or "wrong", just different.

I do not think it is unreasonable to say that computer activity has to be done in a main room or that as the parent you have unlimited access to all technology.

I don't think it's unreasonable to have the computer in the main room.

I think it's unrealistic to think that not paying for a smart phone will keep a determined teenager away from social media and online communication.

The sexual activity comparison is a good one. I think if you say NO BOYS to a teenage girl, and NO DATES, you are setting yourself up for trouble and setting her up to have to sneak around, and once you cross that line, the line moves back a little and you cross it again. There is a lot of space between no dates and "here's a condom."

And there's a lot of space between "here's your free smartphone" and "no individually owned technology allowed".

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

I don't think it's unreasonable to have the computer in the main room.

I think it's unrealistic to think that not paying for a smart phone will keep a determined teenager away from social media and online communication.

The sexual activity comparison is a good one. I think if you say NO BOYS to a teenage girl, and NO DATES, you are setting yourself up for trouble and setting her up to have to sneak around, and once you cross that line, the line moves back a little and you cross it again. There is a lot of space between no dates and "here's a condom."

And there's a lot of space between "here's your free smartphone" and "no individually owned technology allowed".

Saying you can't have a smart phone at 12 or 14 does not mean they do not have access to technology or can not talk to their friends. (I said way older, not never)

Perhaps my opinion is formed by the current situation with MIL's foster kids. In Law's got to bed around 10pm or so. So this AM I wake to my news feed full of the two older girls having posted pictures all night long (14 and 15). In their night clothes, dozens of webcam pictures. Liking dozens of pictures. Chatting with grown men in the middle of the night. I am sure there are kids that age that are very responsible with the internet, but I have seen what happens when it is 100% un checked.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Saying you can't have a smart phone at 12 or 14 does not mean they do not have access to technology or can not talk to their friends. (I said way older, not never)

Perhaps my opinion is formed by the current situation with MIL's foster kids. In Law's got to bed around 10pm or so. So this AM I wake to my news feed full of the two older girls having posted pictures all night long (14 and 15). In their night clothes, dozens of webcam pictures. Liking dozens of pictures. Chatting with grown men in the middle of the night. I am sure there are kids that age that are very responsible with the internet, but I have seen what happens when it is 100% un checked.

That's why I'm talking about middle ground.

If you told those two kids NO COMPUTER ACCESS I guarantee they would find a way, and you (as a relative) wouldn't even have a way to know about it.

I still think you're misunderstanding me and presuming that I think you should just give up and let them do whatever they want.

Joined: 05/13/13
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I think 71% is probably a very conservative number. We recently went through an ordeal of sorts with my 10 year old step-daughter regarding this. Her netbook at her mother's house wasn't working properly so she sent it to my DH to fix. You can safely assume her browser history was a shock, even as it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. All of her electronics here are parental guarded as best as we can, but children are crafty. I don't think anything is truly 100% guaranteed to keep kids from seeing or doing what they shouldn't, especially considering the vast amounts of technology they have access to.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

I think the number is right considering what I know about friends' kids, and all the more reason I am assured my husband and I are doing what is right for our family.
We have one computer.
It is in the main room of the house.
We know how to remove the modem.
My children do not know how to access the internet.
My children will NEVER own a phone with internet while under our roof.. no need to.
I won't even buy them a cell phone.. at almost 10 and 11 things will not change that much phone wise to be able to have a good job and a home phone, and no cell. They have access to our home phone and can make calls if needed, we have unlimited long distance right now. and the phones again are in the main part of the house.

I even specifically bought their DS's without internet access.

One of their friends was caught by the mom corresponding on skype (they hacked it) at 11yo and were being given information to use paypal.

But... it was in the boys room.. first mistake.. and they had skype.. second mistake.

My children will not only be taught the dangers of it.. but not given access till I am not worried about them gaining access to it.

IE
I wouldn't mind internet use with my permission for reports in highschool... and tada.. the computer is in the main room.. nothing they research should need to be hidden.
I wouldn't allow them a facebook or myspace.. or twitter or any social media access.. regardless of what new is coming down the pipe in the next 8years or so.
If they want to use social media they can wait till they are adults.. or have real relationships with real people Wink

Joined: 08/17/04
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They don't know how to access the internet? Do you mean by getting the modem set up again? My 3 and 5 year old know how to access the internet even though they basically just use apps.

I think it is a disservice to not teach them how to use the internet appropriately. I use it in my daily life including work. To me, there are many negative implications to not having them know how to navigate today's technology.

I'm not saying they should have a free reign or be on Facebook or whatnot. But to know how to google something for a project? How to research effectively and how to tell how to make sure you are receiving accurate information is an important tool today.

Joined: 05/31/06
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That is really interesting Rg. So, you homeschool them remotely, and they don't even know how to access the internet at all? I think that the internet is a lifeskill. I'm surprised that you would not want them to learn it, being so intent on teaching life skills and all.

I thought your kids made like hundreds of dollars a month or something in the summer, or am I confused with someone else? Do you take all of the money they earn?

Rivergallery's picture
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"Jessica80" wrote:

They don't know how to access the internet? Do you mean by getting the modem set up again? My 3 and 5 year old know how to access the internet even though they basically just use apps.

I think it is a disservice to not teach them how to use the internet appropriately. I use it in my daily life including work. To me, there are many negative implications to not having them know how to navigate today's technology.

I'm not saying they should have a free reign or be on Facebook or whatnot. But to know how to google something for a project? How to research effectively and how to tell how to make sure you are receiving accurate information is an important tool today.

No they do NOT know how to use the internet.. at 10 and 11 they do not need to right now.

Rivergallery's picture
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"Potter75" wrote:

That is really interesting Rg. So, you homeschool them remotely, and they don't even know how to access the internet at all? I think that the internet is a lifeskill. I'm surprised that you would not want them to learn it, being so intent on teaching life skills and all.

I thought your kids made like hundreds of dollars a month or something in the summer, or am I confused with someone else? Do you take all of the money they earn?

They usually save their money I do not take it.. not sure what you are implying.

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"Rivergallery" wrote:

No they do NOT know how to use the internet.. at 10 and 11 they do not need to right now.

My son is 9 and uses it for research all the time. There are many safe sites and the school even sends out lists of them to parents. The internet is wonderful for curious smart kids....they are missing out.

Joined: 08/17/04
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"Rivergallery" wrote:

No they do NOT know how to use the internet.. at 10 and 11 they do not need to right now.

Well I guess I disagree. I think it's a handy tool for everyday life in 2013 when used appropriately. I also believe proper usage needs to be taught at all stages.

When I was 10/11, we learned to use the library for research (which is still an awesome tool!) and how to search for information appropriately to prepare for high school and later years. It just doesn't happen. I think the internet is the same way.

Rivergallery's picture
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Again I think no one really reads what I write.. I didn't say they will NEVER learn it nor shouldn't.. I said I will warn them of the dangers.. and that in hs it is important to learn to research items online etc..

Joined: 08/17/04
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I think that most of us feel that at their age they should know how to use it supervised.

Since my kids will attend public schools (maybe private but I am not homeschooling) I would not be pleased to find out they weren't offering computer technology. We had that when I was a kid. I would expect that they would be learning how to use the internet for educational use. Since you are their teacher I think this is a disservice to their education and for real life experience.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6698

My 8 year old does know how to use the internet, but only in a limited way. I have several websites that are on the bookmark bar at the top of the page. She can open a browser, and click one of those websites. She does not know how to type in a different kind of website in the search bar. We do use the internet for school. The computer however, is in a main room of the house and I am with her if we are using it for school. There are so many things that I do not know, that it has been been very useful for all of those "How" and "why" questions. For example "Why is the sky blue?", "I do not know, lets look it up." I think the Internet is very useful and helpful in that way. However, I still do not plan to let them have unlimited access in their bedroom.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3255

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

My 8 year old does know how to use the internet, but only in a limited way. I have several websites that are on the bookmark bar at the top of the page. She can open a browser, click and click one of those websites. She does not know how to type in a different kind of website in the search bar. We do use the internet for school. The computer however, is in a main room of the house and I am with her if we are using it for school. There are so many things that I do not know, that it has been been very useful for all of those "How" and "why" questions. For example "Why is the sky blue?", "I do not know, lets look it up." I think the Internet is very useful and helpful in that way. However, I still do not plan to let them have unlimited access in their bedroom.

My 5-year-old is the same. She only knows how to go to the sites I have bookmarked for her. And I agree....great for looking things up and unlimited private access is inappropriate for children.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3320

Its interesting to see what dangerous things we as parents choose to shelter our kids from, just talk to them about it, and then plan to let them use later in life, and what other dangers we choose to teach them about in a hands-on manner at younger ages, and let them learn by experience..and feel it would be dangerous to not have them learn by experience as they grow.

I wonder how we internally make these decisions and what ultimately influences or choices.

Joined: 05/13/02
Posts: 414

I'm with Jessica and Melissa....that just sounds very restrictive and controlling to me. Like Jess, I'm not saying they need to be on social media. But being able to quickly and easily access the internet, and know what to do it it, is crucial in today's world. Heck, my kids know how to search for stuff better than I do!

Joined: 05/13/02
Posts: 414

Exactly Laurie! My 9 yr old has been researching on the internet at school and at home since at least 3rd grade. He had to do several research pieces this year, and I was amazed at what he was able to find through the sites recommended by their school/teacher. Their school also has Google doc accounts (or whatever that is) for each student. They even chat with each other on their Blackboard classroom site. I think that is such a useful tool to have...they're able to give and provide feedback to each other.

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

Robbie uses the internet at both school and home with limited access, there are lots of things we have blocked including youtube - he gets to go on youtube to watch stuff that we approve and generally watch with him. He watches a lot of Tedtalks with my DH. Robbie has aspergers and having the computer helps him a lot with communication skills, that being said he is not on any chat boards/social media sites unless it is the one for his classroom. He turns 8 in a couple of weeks.

Personally I think that sheltering kids too much is a disservice to them. Eventually they have to live in the real world. I would rather Robbie learn about sex, drugs, dangers from us then learning the hard way. We talk a lot to him about a variety of things and try to figure out how much he really understands but with his social issues I sometimes wonder how much he is just parroting back what he hears.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"Rivergallery" wrote:

No they do NOT know how to use the internet.. at 10 and 11 they do not need to right now.

I'm still so interested in this. So you have a computer with a modem and you are on the internet a lot but your children are not allowed to use or access the internet? Do they KNOW about the internet? What do you tell them? Why do you tell them that they are not allowed to use it? Do you tell them that you don't trust them with the internet or something? Do they ask to use it? Or why you use it, or their peers use it (surely every peer they have accesses the internet at their ages?) but they can't? I really thought I couldn't be shocked, but this shocks me. Do you have a really extensive library or research materials available to them? I can't even imagine how much you are limiting them by keeping this amazing resource away from them. It truly boggles my mind. My kids world is expanded by our ability to look up anything and everything on the internet. They don't have computers, and they don't know how to look anything up or access the internet without us, but we look things up with/for them a lot. Its great. My son is just finished kindy, and they used computers a lot in school. I would have pulled him out of his school if they werent teaching them computers as I would have considered that backwards and behind the times.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6698

I wanted to point out that most people that I know who would not want their young teen to have a smartphone, still have their child on the internet at some point. Most homeschoolers I know use the internet all the time. I know (On homeschooling forums and in real life) hundreds of homeschoolers and have never met anyone who does not let their child use the internet at all or teach them about it. Perhaps RG meant (Just guessing), that her boys do not use the internet without her there or do not know how to log into it without her present.

I do think it would be a huge handicap to grow up not knowing how to use a computer or the internet. Almost all jobs would require at least a basic knowledge of computers. That does not mean they need to be let loose with no restrictions. ( I know that is not what people are saying)

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