I have had monitoring software on both my kids' laptops since 2006. An online event happened that made me feel completely blindsided. It made me realize that as tech-savvy as I was, I was still flying in the dark when it came to my kids' online activities and it was just too risky.
I'd taken the Citizen's Police Academy course in Greenwich, and called the Detective who had spoken to us about Internet crime to ask him what I could do. He recommended some monitoring software, and I have been using it ever since. I told the kids I was putting it on their computers, and that was the price of them being online until they are 18 and legally old enough to take responsibility for their own actions.
Installing the monitoring software was one of the best decisions I ever made as a parent. I can't imagine having teens online in this day and age without it. I give my kids a lot of leeway as far as their activities. They're teenagers. I'm not here to be Big Brother, and hey, I was a teenager too. I write YA, which tells you my inner teen is alive and well and remembers what it was like. BUT I'm also a grown up and a mother who cares about the safety of her children more than anything else...so if I see anyone crossing the line, there will be discussions and/or consequences.
PROACTIVE PARENTING IS KEY TO KEEPING KIDS SAFE
"Unfortunately, what we find is that many parents and educators are
behind the curve when it comes to understanding the risks and the
benefits of the Internet," says Cris Clapp Logan, director of
communications and congressional relations for Enough Is Enough, an Internet safety group. "Parents and other caring adults need to be involved to help raise digitally safe and savvy kids...Kids seem to still experience a dis-inhibition with regard to what they
say, post, and do online, so we need to get through to them that what
they do online can have consequences offline," she says. "We see the
most critical need as being parental involvement. Without clear guidance
from adults, kids will make their own rules."