The “not my child” syndrome continues to be a problem when it comes to parenting, especially online. In a recent study of 1500 families, not a single parent believed their child could be a cyberbully. This attitude spills over into all issues related to internet usage. According to a Common Sense Media poll, “49% of parents think that their child didn’t start surfing online unsupervised until they were at least 13, only 14% of teens say this is true. 12% of teens say their parents don’t even know they have an account on Facebook. Only 16% of parents think that their child has shared information that they would not normally share in public.” The fact is, 28% have shared information.
We all want to believe that our children are making good choices, but the fact is they’re kids and they’re going to make errors in judgment. That’s one of the reasons they have parents, to parent and guide. Parents need to be paying attention to what their children are doing online, to teach safe, appropriate and responsible online behavior. They need to parent online just as they do offline.
Kids are participating in risky behaviors online. Some statistics include:
39% have posted something they later regretted
37%who have used the sites to make fun of other students
25% have created a profile with a false identity
24% have hacked into someone else’s social networking account
13% have posted nude or semi-nude pictures or videos of themselves or others online
Many of the horrific incidents, including cyberbullying, could be prevented if parents knew what their children were doing online and were intervening when necessary. When kids know that mom or dad is watching what they are doing online, kids are more likely to exhibit appropriate, safe and responsible behavior. When a child is not behaving appropriately online, then parents who are keeping an eye on the activity are able to intervene and teach what is acceptable behavior online.