As kids we where taught not to talk to strangers on the street. I think treating everyone online, as a stranger might be a good and healthy thing. Yes overtime I have made some great friends online but something I have learned over time is that we need to limit what we share with online contacts.
For kids it is different and I would say that young kids should not use the Internet to talk to any strangers. I guess with so many options online like social networks and platforms that can easily connect one person with the other, the best thing to do is to teach your kids that online communications are to be kept in between family members until you understand that they are mature enough to communicate with others.
I see many kids with Facebook accounts not meeting the age requirement and the worst part is many of those kids are lightly monitored or not monitored at all. The reason Facebook has implemented an age restriction is to protect children. Some adults don’t understand the impact online communications can have in real life and how complex it can be for a kid.
I did not have an online connection and computer till I bought one at the age of 18. I would use email at a friend’s house but other than that I did not have a way to connect daily and be online. I think my childhood was just fine without the Internet and a computer. For that reason, I don’t understand how parents decide that children should have access to platforms like Facebook before an appropriate age and even worst they don’t monitor them.
In the case that you decide to allow your children to use the Internet for educational or other purposes, I think it is critical that you lay down the ground rules when it comes to interacting with strangers.
Even more importantly if a stranger contacts them online they should communicate this to a family member as quick as possible so it can be addressed.
If your kids don’t talk with strangers on the street they need to take this approach inorder to make it safer for them online.
What rules have you implemented in your family when connecting online?
Who do you allow your children, nephews, or any other young family members to chat with online?