Privacy vs. Protection | Part 6

Protection Always Comes Before Your Child’s Privacy

In the discussion of privacy vs protection on the internet may be the most debated and overwhelming issue to parents.  We are going to open this week by going over some basic computer safety. The reason to place such high priority on internet safety is made obvious by some of the following statistics.  Of teens surveyed, 43% who had a profile on a social network site said they had been contacted by strangers,  21% said they had responded. Research from 2005 stated that 1 in 3 teens, 10 to 17 year olds, had been exposed to unwanted pornography.  Add to that the millions of children who have been victims of cyber bullying.

These stats are scary. It is our responsibility to place appropriate parameters around the internet and usage of the computer. The simplest safety policy is to keep the computer in a public place.  That way it can never be behind closed doors, literally.  Because this is a safety issue it is not wise for children to have internet in their bedrooms. The second safety policy is a password.  Children need to come to mom in order to get on.  This prevents any late night usage without parental consent. A third safety precaution is a safety filter.  Beyond the safety filter parents need to consider having monitoring software.  This software allows the parents to see not only where their children have gone, but some can actually monitor chat and emails.

Some parents may feel these precautions violate their children’s privacy.  Consider the fact that 1 in 5 children ages 10 -17 have been solicited for sex online! This has gone way beyond a privacy issue … it is a protection issue … and protection comes first. These statistics should not immobilize but spur us into action to protect the safety, wellbeing and innocence of our children.