Here there be interwebs!

Writen by: Hank Wethington

Posted on 17 December 2010

Being a tech-head, I’ve had computers in the house for ever, or at least it feels that way. Starting back with my first computer, the Timex Sinclair 1000, the computer has been a fixture in my room. Then came the 2400bps modems, BBSs and AOL. Finally, the interwebs. I started using MUDs, PINE and lynx, all from the comfort of my own home. No more going to the computer labs to get stuff done play games. Yep, I’m that old.

But then came kids. Heather and I decided a long time ago, in an internet world that only existed on computers, that we would not allow computers to be in the bedrooms. Keep it public was our idea. Minimize the potential for misuse and exploitation. Back when I was running the forums for SAF, a member of the group, who was just a teen at the time, talked about being grounded due to porn. “If my parents don’t want me looking at porn, they shouldn’t let me have a computer in my room.” Forget about all the personal responsibility issues present in that statement, and think about what you would do to prevent misuse for your kid. His comment spurred our desire for a public computer only. At the time, it was easy for us, because, back then, the computer was also the entertainment center sitting in the middle of the living room.

Fast forward to today. Now the internet and all it’s good and bad are available from just about any electronic device. iPad/iPod Touch/iPhone, any smartphone, Nintendo DS, PSP, etc… Where does one draw the line? Making sure the kids have adequate access to computer resources, I haven’t been shy it getting them laptops. Hayden is using the Hackitosh that I got a while back. Harrison was recently upgraded to Heather’s old MacBook. Heather of course has her own laptop and work is kind enough to me to provide me a laptop so I can work extra hours from home. Then there’s still the computer hooked to the TV. So if I say “no computers in the bedrooms (NCiTB),” it seems simple, but how does that work?

By using the decree of NCitB, I think I’m protecting my kids. However, I’ve just also said, that your room’s can’t be used for homework. OK, we can deal. But that doesn’t say no internet in the rooms, which is really the goal. Does the ban extend to the iPod, the DS, or what ever the future holds for internet connected devices? Does this mean that when Harrison gets his first phone, he can’t use it in his room? Facebook and the bullying that can come along with it, google images, even video, are all easily accessible from any internet connected device.

I do my best to protect my kids. To make sure they have the tools to succeed in life, as well as how to know good from bad, but the internet is a beast that the rules of yesterday just don’t apply to. What are your plans? How are you handling this with your kids? I’d love to know.

1 Response to Here there be interwebs!

  • jarretthere says:

    Proxy server with logging. Or the threat thereof.

    You aren’t going to prevent them from looking at boobies (remember us at that age?), but I don’t think you have much to worry about with yours, they have pretty good parents who care.

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