Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hitting and Missing the Target at the Same Time

I recently read a newspaper commentary on the latest moves by MySpace to make teens safer. It correctly points out that that kids can easily get around every one of the safety measures that have been put in place and then advises parents to "Yank his or her profile. Forbid your teen from joining any popular social networking site, including Facebook, Friendster and Xanga."

If a child is willing to do all of the things outlined in order to get around the safety measures, why would one think that they wouldn't just as easily work around the banning and forbidding?

By taking such an action, all a parent would be doing is ensuring that they would be cutting off lines of communication and eliminating the opportunity to discuss problems should they arise. Rather than making their child safer online, it could have just the opposite effect.

Communication, supervision and education is a better approach. How that comes about depends upon the interpersonal relationships of parent and child as well as the knowledge of the parent as to what message to relate and how to deliver. It is also a topic too detailed to discuss single blog entry, but a good starting point is to read the report to Congress made by Dr. David Finklehor, one of the nation's top experts in the field of child sexual abuse. It will help parents understand that children who want to be safe generally are safe. It will also give them a profile of the potential victim and an idea of whether their child fits that profile.

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posted by Art @ 10:50 AM   0 comments links to this post

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