Just e-mailed the parents of our teenagers, and I thought it was worth posting something. I'm a young parent, so I don't know a ton. But if there's one thing I've learned so far, is that parenting does NOT just happen. It takes an active effort, and a life change motivated by love and hope for what lies ahead, etc. You can't just assume that because you're a parent, you're parenting.
That being said, I've found a website that I think families should be taking advantage of, and parents should be involved in. Granted, there are many sites out there like this. But most sites that I've seen are also hooked into other organizations or faiths, which may end up limiting their impact, reach, or skew the facts.
Let's face it: the internet is here. Most of us have grown up with it since our middle school years, and our children have already begun their addiction. Content and advertising on the internet alone is threatening innocence, but then you add in the social interactions possible, and communication that happens even between the youngest of students, and it's a whole new area of development.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH started in 1994, has a TON of information, articles, printable resources, and links to downloads that can help a parent of any age group learn how to safely allow their child to use the internet.
What I like about this group is that it isn't just stopping at providing all of this useful stuff out there. This is an active group, that (scroll down on this page to the legal stuff) is helping to steer the development of technology at least a small way towards decency.
Basically, here are some blunt tips: (my opinion, I'm no expert)
1. If you don't have a filter on your computer....GET ONE NOW. Even the greatest Biblical characters faced temptation.
2. If you have a child or teen with a computer in their bedroom....GET IT OUT NOW. Only allow computer usage in a public area of the house. Even if it's a laptop. No internet after mom and dad go to bed. Seriously, there are other things to do. Most teens are sleep deprived, anyways.
3. Go through safe internet usage tips with your child!!! In any parenting circumstance, if your child could potentially harm themselves, you slowly guide them through safety precautions. Why should the internet be different? Go through their friends on myspace/facebook or on their chatting buddy-list once in a while, ask them who each person is.
4. KNOW if your teen has a website, profile, or a blog online somewhere, and check it out regularly!!! Be involved, and if there are places online you don't want them, don't let them go!!! Don't buy into the "they're an individual, and need to have a world where I'm not in it" mentality. Our children need parents.
I'll do it if you will.