I, Sue Buckle, am an internet addict.
I can admit it. *It was hard*
Honestly though, people seem to be demonising the internet. Blaming it for the failings of their parenting, ‘OMG, that perve took our little girl away’. First of all, people need to understand, the internet is no more dangerous than being outside, if you take away the stale air.
Teach your kids to be vigilant where ever they go. Don’t blame the internet when you allow your child to have a computer in their room, and let them use something you know nothing about. As a parent, you need to teach kids, don’t think its funny to start up a facebook page for 7 year old Sarah, and complain when she is talking to perves.
Kids think everyone is out to be their friend, just like a puppy, and the only way you can get it to behave is to train it well.
If you were a parent, you would check what friends your kid made online, just like you would do if they were playing outside. If you don’t check up, you lose your right to complain.
The thing I don’t understand, is that there are plenty of safe social networking sites aimed at kids (like Club Penguin), where every message sent and all users have their activity through the site checked. Because to be honest, Facebook was not made for school kids, its for the over 25 market. Which are still the people who spend most time on the website.
And the worst thing is, the panic button installed on Facebook. Do you really think that kids aren’t going to abuse that. I mean we are talking about the chance to get someone you don’t like banned off a site. To a kid, that may seem funny, like a good windup. And to be honest, these perves, aren’t thought to be a threat. I mean if a guy says he’s 12, why should other 12 years fear him and press the panic button. Usually the kids aren’t aware of the issue, untill they attempt to meet up with the individual in real life. No buttons in the world is going to stop a teenager contacting someone the want to.
So the focus should not be on the website, which is nothing but a platform for meeting new people, it should be the parents who are willing to push the blame to someone else. Education is a powerful tool, use it.
I was told to never talk or accept anything of strangers, and that translated to the internet. Its what you tell your kids, if you tell your kid not to bother you, and to piss off, they will look for attention off anyone.
I don’t think the internet is this evil monster. I think that if you don’t disengage your brain, the internet is fun, and over the many years as a user, it has done so much. It has been somewhere for me to vent, to find new friends, to contact people I love and to share my art. And with my reccent 2 day absence from the internet, I had comments of people worried about me and things which (for once in my life) made me feel part of something.
And is that a bad thing?