Is It SAFE to Make the Kids Internet Savvy ?

Hug your kids at home, but belt them in the car

I want a facebook account‘ a demand from my 7.5 yrs old daughter is making me think  if  its time to belt her a little tighter even at home.

Recently her bestest best friend moved out of the country and my daughter has been missing her tremendously. I can see that too when  I spot her looking at their pictures together or peeking out of our window to see if their door is open by any chance. They were our neighbors too.  It breaks my heart to see her lonely and not wanting to make any new friends just yet.

Her friend is 9 yrs old and has a facebook account. So now my daughter wants a FB account too to connect with her instantly and play games and basically look cool etc. They are already emailing and talking on the phone quite frequently. I understand that it may not be enough for them since they used to spend ALL their free time together. But still….a facebook account…..for a primary school kid???  Call me conservative, paranoid, skeptical, non-trusting whatever..but I just can’t comprehend the idea of exposing my vulnerable child to a social media yet.

Its none of my business to know why her friend is allowed to have a facebook account or watch youtube videos by herself.  I just can’t let my daughter sit at the PC without asking our permission.  She has an email account, which she can access when one of us parents are around. We let her watch any barbie rock videos or magic shows or any other age-appropriate video she wants to watch, but only when one of us is there to search and play that video for her. Personally I don’t even like to let her peek on the screen when I am searching for a video. God knows what might pop up if I mistakenly misspell  ‘ Legos ‘ as ‘ Legs ‘ .  These mishaps are very much possible if a 7 yr old is typing. She is not even old enough that we can talk to her and explain why we have to control her internet use.

First thing that I am paranoid about is my kid getting familiar with any pornographic term.  It would be  like opening a can of worms. If kids are even accidentally exposed to such material at a tender age, its not only embarrassing for us, but who knows what misconceptions they might create with their creative minds about a man-woman relationship. Then again, this is a very delicate matter to deal with, because the more you try to hide something away from kids, the more curious they are going to get about it.

Then secondly, I fear about the kids getting in contact with wrong people, strangers knowing about my kid’s whereabouts or our family information.  And with a social network like Facebook its so easy to request a friendship with anybody. Agreed facebook is pretty strict with whom we friend, but its not enough to keep the kids safe.


(Images from Google Images)

Then there are other threats of pop ups, unwanted cookies, viruses, garbage applications. Kids don’t know how to deal with them, but a simple accidental click on something might download a dangerous virus.  I wouldn’t want my kid copying everything off of the internet instead of reading real books and doing her own research for her school projects.

I really need some guidance here. Please share your thoughts -

  1. At what age, do you think its appropriate for kids to have their social network?
  2. Do you allow your kids to browse the internet when you are not around or without asking your permission? Particularly video sites.
  3. What child-safety softwares you can recommend to be installed that can take care of most of the threats? What do you use?
  4. How do you react when there is something unfriendly for kids that they suddenly come across while you are on the computer or on TV?  Immediately switch it off and brush off their questions?

Internet is a part of our children’s future.  Its even our present and future. But a weapon used smartly kills the enemy, otherwise its a boomerang.

Really appreciate your suggestions on this.



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