Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What Do You Get...

... when you cross a teenager and an iPod Touch (with enabled wifi)?

The start of a horror story you hear about on Dateline or Maury Povich complete with private chats of an inappropriate nature with strangers of questionable age (and even gender).
I've been asked not to tweet or post about this because the Internet doesn't need to know about His daughter but I'm doing it anyway because ... well, it's *my* blog.
But, that's not the real reason. I do so not to embarrass Cinderella, or to spite anyone. I post this now because it's important to remind ALL parents (steps AND bio) of the importance of monitoring your children's internet usage. No matter how insignificant you might think it is, it can be a recipe for disaster.
Even the best parent needs a reminder every now and then.
If you are not familiar with an iPod Touch and all of it's capabilities, it's basically a mini-computer. So when your otherwise good kid is locking him/herself in their room "playing games" on their "iPod" you need to know that they may be ON TEH INTERNETZ and that means people of ALL KINDS are also playing these games and therefore have access to your good kid. AND!!! that said games also have private chat capabilities (remember the early days of a/s/l checks? Umm...YEAH! 'nuff said.).

BUT, if you are lucky (and YES there is also an upside to this otherwise craptastic and stomach turning experience) you might also get validation that you are doing a good job when, as you scour though the chat and email history, you happen across a statement made by your kid such as: "I'll [send it] tomorrow because my Dad is home then and he doesn't watch me."
You bet your ASS I'm going to be watching you.

12 comments:

stef said...

You must have a countdown clock somewhere for when she finally gets out of her teenage years

The Step In Mom. . . said...

Good thing you guys are watching her. The Kid has one of those at his Moms... but it never comes over here, so I just hope she monitors it. We go through my SS's cell phone to make sure he is doing anything he shouldn't be.

Jenny Livingston said...

Mine are 4 and 7 months... I can only imagine the shit they'll have access to when they're teenagers.

Thanks for the warning.

mathcutie said...

That is so scary. I always remind my son that people can represent themselves as anything they think you want to hear when you can't see them. It's amazing to me that even the college kids I come into contact with believe that when someone claims to be an "18yo f" that it really could be a "43yo m"! LOL

Anonymous said...

WOW... just WOW... ~Layne

Anonymous said...

My daughter did this on her cousin's ipod touch. She is 11 and she was chatting with a boy that was 16. Totally freaked me out! From now on she is monitored very closely if she "plays" on her cousin's ipod. ~ Shannon

Smudder said...

Whoops. Busted. ;-)


Thanks for the reminder.

xoxoKrysten said...

Teenagers can be awful sometimes - I know I was when I was one! After all the drama I caused my parents I'm petrified of having my own teenagers someday!

Matt - mmWine said...

Coworkers and I were just discussing this at lunch not 10 minutes ago. Kids are definitely very accessible - and parents need to take every precaution with their safety when it comes into the internet.

I have the argument with friends that kids don't need facebook, twitter, or any other social media accounts in their tweens or teens much before High School. And in high-school, they need to be monitored.

Kids are always pushing boundaries, and it's the parents responsibility to ensure those boundaries are in place and respected. I spend a lot of time explaining the hazards of the internet, texting, etc, so my son realizes as much fun as it can be, there are serious downsides that could get him hurt, or worse. I'm far from an alarmist, and dont put my kid in a bubble, but I also do my best to keep him reasonably safe.

I'm also forwarding this on to a NUMBER of my friends with kids in the 10-13 range.

Andy said...

i think it's better to work WITH your children so they are wise and understand that there are creeps out there. I think banning facebook, twitter etc only makes it that much more a reason to use these services in secret. if you are with them, physically beside them, you can help them to understand what's real and what's not. the key is the investment in time and energy it takes from parents. If you make it a serious deal, they will see it that way. I say let them experiment with you at their side to help them learn the skills needed to make wiser choices.

Wicked Stepmom said...

Agree, Andy.

And, as in the case of Cinderella, sometimes children still stray and experiment with risky behavior in spite of your best effort to educate and supervise. The iPod Touch is a portable little device that undermines the reasons why we keep the family computer in a PUBLIC area. ;)

TripleKTrouble said...

Wow, I just recently came back to my blog and it seems I'm not the only one getting divorced. At least you guys are amicable. That is good. Hope you're well...