Over the years, when interviewed about Internet safety, I would spout my rule about placing family computers in public areas — no computers in bedrooms. In our home, we have our computers just off the kitchen, in an open family area that doesn’t have a door.
But we’ve come to a crossroad. Matthew (a high-school sophomore) has a heavy academic load, with lots of homework, and it turns out we are too noisy for him. My daughter sings and tap dances. My husband shouts at misbehaving pets. I play music.
It’s time to realize that what we are doing isn’t working, and change our rules. The kids grow up, circumstances change. Matthew, just a few months shy of sixteen, is getting a computer in his room. I’ll miss him.
Show your child some respect, what he goes on is entirely his choice, is he is choosing to go on sites you wouldn’t approve of (ie porn) then he is old enough to make those decisions himself (and by stopping him you are not protecting innocence). It is hard to find “inappropriate” things by accident eg if i search ‘van der waals force’ into google i get only science results. If you explain to your children while they are young to watch out for paedophiles, im sure they can be fairly safe. MSN and the like is easy to set up permissions for.
Ok don’t get me wrong, I don’t want some random dude in my house trying to kill me but this OVERPROTECTIVE. I mean it’s not like I’m going to go on any bad sites right?
I think that everyone has the right to access the Internet if he or she wishes so.
Everyone should be able to access the Internet in privacy too; what if they have a question they are not confutable discussing with their parents?
– Internet will have answers. (:
i think kids should have computers in their room, i mean, who cares if they stay up all night chatting with friends…its their fault if they cant get up in the morning. i have a computer in my room, i have like scence i was 7. and nothing bad has ever happened to me. my mom blocked all the bad sites on it…well, most,lol…anyway kids should be able to do watever they want its not fun having parents bugging you bout every single thing that goes on in their life
I cannot believe how over-protective you all are as parents. I have had a computer in my room for a year now and my parents don’t have to monitor everything I do when I’m online. I am more proficient with computers with them so they wouldn’t have a chance to monitor me anyways. You all are admitting that your kids are idiotic if they are even talking with people who give off a bad vibe. I can’t believe what the world is coming to. Media has somehow convinced you all that the internet is a terrible place with no ethics. I’m so glad that my parents aren’t you right now.
How is it bad that a 16 year old male; probably a hell of a lot smarter than his parents, having his own computer? You would buy him a car, what is so bad about having a computer in someone’s room under 18? “blah blah blah I was taught in my blah blah class that it is bad.” Why not think for yourself? One in 700 hundred million females get’s into trouble with an older man. What is wrong with a male having one? “He’s not old enough blah blah”. You would be surprised on how much more mature your son is compared to you.
i feel computers should be in the open because of what goes on in the world. its ok to have it in your sons room. but I have learned in the early childhood education courses i am taking to be a teacher. that you should not have computers in their rooms do to the bad things that can happen
First, I think its a great that you feel comfortable giving your son this opportunity. I bet he feels very proud that you have entrusted him with this responsibility. Second, I don’t think it is an issue of not trusting our children as much as it is not trusting the world out there. People who break safety rules don’t honor normal boundary lines. I’m pretty naive and gullible and I’m 42. So I figure, what chance does my 9/11 or 14 year old have against a person who might dysfunctionally prey on children on the internet? Not that any of what I said offers any solution……. I think when I find myself admiring my children’s gut instinct or read on an unusual situation I know that they are safe in our intricate and sometimes difficult world.
Wow, I’m glad my mom trusted me enough not to read my email and to let me use the internet without hanging over my shoulder…
Is she the only person in the world who trusts that her child has enough sense not to run up the credit card with porn sites or get hot and heavy with some random 40-year-old rapist on the ‘net?
There’s nothing I hate more than being “watched,” whether it is by my mother, a friend, or a random stranger…and I can tell you I wouldn’t spend much time on the internet at ALL, no matter WHAT I was researching, if someone was constantly breathing down my neck.
Why don’t any of you trust your kids???
I agree with Ronnie. I would try the headphones. It is just too hard to monitor your kids on the computer, when they have one in their room. Who has time to stick your head in his room or remember to get reports? Make your life easier and get the headphones. When he wants to do research, he can easily use them. Remember you are the adult and he is still the child who can be tempted or stumble onto a bad site without even intending to.
Ronnie McKenna says
I would never never allow a computer in my son’s room. There are TOOOOOOOOO many sites that have nice stuff for kids on them AND also adult things on them to hook your child. When you are in other room how do you know what gives and what email he receives? Never, never… Must watch everything nowadays ..
M. Wade says
It’s a tough situation, and everyone’s made some worthwhile suggestions. There’s one thing I’d like to point out. If your son thinks the household noise makes it tough to study now, wait till he gets to college. Finding a quiet place in a dorm, or anywhere on campus, can be very difficult!
The noise-cancelling headphones suggested above sound like an especially good idea. I believe Sony makes a set for about $80.
There is one additional option. *If* you are computer savvy enough. (or you know someone who is) Set up a firewall that tracks *all* of the websites that are accessed through it, and then progam it to print out/send you those URL’s every so often. I would then tell everyone what was happening so no one is surprised. (of course this option won’t record instant messages but it can be set to block them – it will also block access to certain sites if you tell it too.)
The biggest problem with this option is that it requires a computer devoted to being the firewall. (On the otherhand it doesn’t have to be a particularly powerful computer – so when you upgrade you can designate your old computer to be the firewall. )
This is certainly a catch-22 situation. I have never heard of the headphones one lady mentioned, so I think it would be worth giving those a try first. But if that doesn’t work for whatever reason…then I would do one of two things. I would not allow internet access to the computer in his room…OR…if internet access is a necessity and I chose to allow it in his room–then the monitor would have to be visible from his doorway and the door of his room would have to remain open when he was on the computer. And I would make sure *I* or his dad were passing by frequently! Despite the upstanding values we may teach our children, they ARE still children and want to experiment, or step over the line from time to time. They do not fully understand the dangers of pornography or chatting with “friends” they don’t really know. He may be a good kid–even a great kid–but he IS only 16 and not nearly as mature as his parents. Don’t make it easy for him to fall into temptation, or a horrible addiction.
My wife and I were recently invited to try My Family Explorer($9.95/month) dial up service. It is kind of slow, but… it allows for several accounts with separate passwords and parents get to choose the level of information available to the user. We are still experimenting with it and I am much less apprehensive about our kids(9&12) venturing onto the ‘net without close supervision. I know this is not a perfect solution, but it may help in situations where parents can’t patrol thenet use.
I think you are doing the right thing. I would still keep an eye on his internet access. My oldest son is in 7th grade and youngest is in 2nd. Our only computer is in the family room where I can monitor their access. However, I am thinking of upgrading to a new computer and giving the old one them in their room. I am currently having the great debate about whether they will have internet access down there or whether it will just be for software games. It gets harder as they get older. Nobody ever told us that parenting was going to be easy. It’s a fine line between letting them grow up and have their independence and still keeping them safe and instilling the values we want them to have. Good luck to you and your family.
Gee, Barbara, your house sounds a lot like mine! We have two internet-ready PCs in the general living area of our home. Our teenagers also have access to a used laptop that they can plug in when they need quiet time to do some research. Our deal with our teens is this: They can either have privacy and parental controls or full access to the internet and share their passwords with me. I have the right to randomly check their email boxes and history folders to be sure they are where they’re supposed to be and “hanging out” with people their own ages. It isn’t uncommon for Mom or Dad to chat with their buddies either. I think other teens respect the fact that our kids are part of a family and that we care about them and their friends. We don’t blindly trust our kids, but they can earn our trust through trustworthy behavior.
I wholeheartedly believe that our children need to understand WHY we need to be so careful on the www. Once that is understood, and they are very clear on our rules and expectations as parents, we can loosen the apron strings on our kids. However, they need to always understand that we will still monitor them, and help them, so that trouble stays away. My son is 16, and will be off to college before we know it. Good values must be instilled before that. He also needs to know that I trust him to do what is right.
I guess it’s about trust — our daughters have had computers in their rooms since junior high (one is now a high school senior and one is a sophomore in college) — they KNEW what was okay and what wasn’t – and we’ve depended upon trusting that our values have carried over.
If you’re at all apprehensive, you can set up a home filter to block inappropriate sites — my brother-in-law had to do this because his son’s friends didn’t “get it”
Larry Beck says
Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat! No goose? How about a pair of noise cancelling headphones? My senior in high school son has his computer in our family room and a nice pair of headphones. I usually have to shoot off a cannon to get his attention! And he gets good grades and is off to college next year.
I’m really adamant about no technology in the children’s rooms, except for a CD player to listen to music. No phone, no computer, no PDA, no cell phone. And it’s worked well for us. Three children, and I can monitor what they are doing. Trust, then verify!
We have a 15 year old son and he has his own computer in his room. The caviat is, it ISN’T connected to the Internet. It is the “remote” access to the Internet where young “curious” minds can fall into trouble. The only computer which is connected to the net is in our family room. Good luck and blessings to your family!
Part of being a parent is to change with our children’s needs. I still think that checking in on him from time to time is a good thing. MAKE a great day!
Life is full of changing circumstances. Congratulations on being adaptable enough to make the changes needed.
We are the parents of an 11yr old girl and a 3yr old boy. Our computer lives in our “keeping room” kitchen. I hope I have the wisdom to know when it is time to release that aspect of my daughter’s life to her.
Enjoy the changes… it means you are doing your job well.