Saturday, February 18, 2012

Kids and internet usage

So this parenting stuff is hard.  I like to think that I know how to parent young girls because I vividly remember being one.  I can empathize with most things.  However how many of you remember being 9 with a computer that has internet????  Yeah, that's what I thought. 

Since I am a teacher I feel like I am pretty educated about the influences of technology on young lives.  I even wrote a research paper on it for my Master's last year.  Here are the basic thoughts on appropriate use I abide by here.  Pretty vague huh?  My 9 year old has a Kindle Fire with internet and a desktop computer in the office (not in her room).  Her favorite websites include Webkinz and Movie Star Planet.  She has to be finished with homework, piano and have a clean room before engaging in the internet.  If I were to have a time limit, I'd say 2 hours but that is hardly an issue.  We are busy people. 

So what am I going to write about today?  My love/hate relationship with Movie Star Planet.  M is borderline addicted to this site.  I decided that I better get on there and learn more about it.  She creates videos on it--fine.  She chats with friends she knows in real life--fine.  There are internet safety reminders plastered all over it--good.  She has a creative outlet--good.  She has created some awesome movies--good.  She created a disturbingly creative video--makes me uneasy.  She has a real life friend posing as her movie star BFF--fine.  She has an unknown person posing as her boyfriend to make her look cool and gain fame--uh, not fine.........She promises that she doesn't chat with him, she just uses him to make her look cool--fine.  She talks openly to me about all this stuff--good. 

So what is my point?  IDK--there are no real guidelines about how to parent children that use the internet.  It is a whole new world that, let's face it, we know nothing about.  However, it is the future and I don't feel we can ignore the future.  They will be creating the jobs that they will be doing in 20 years.  We have no idea do we??

What I do know--KNOW WHAT YOUR CHILDREN ARE DOING ONLINE!  You may not have a clue, I sure didn't and know I've created my own login and I've friended her on her site, in her world.  It is kind of cool.  
The 90s

What will the future hold?


  1. hey im 11 i play msp it is a really fun game whats your childs msp user? ill add her and make sure she isnt doing anything bad :) mine is *angelchica<3*

  2. Thank you for encouraging parents to know what their child is doing Online! It's great that you are so involved and have conversations with your child. My mother didn't do that for me, and I have scares to prove it.

    Two comments:

    "she just uses him to make her look cool--fine."

    How is it "fine" to use someone for any reason? The reality is that there ARE many people who will use your daughter like she is using that man, and without proper training, she will be easy prey. It seems that what you are describing is training her to think that using others is right.

    "However, it is the future and I don't feel we can ignore the future. They will be creating the jobs that they will be doing in 20 years. We have no idea do we??"

    Based on what you described in your blog, it seems like you may be hesitating to follow your instincts and limit your daughter's Internet/technology use more, because you think you may be hindering her progress in this Internet age. It has been my experience as a teacher, that technology can be more harmful than healthy for children, because of how children grow. There is too much stimuli and it prevents a child from being able to process fully. In addition, Online anything is easier than reality, and it promotes laziness. It obviously doesn't help a child develop relationships, which requires more effort, vulnerability, heartache etc.

    What is your hope for your daughter? Is Movie Star Planet helping or hurting you in that goal?

    From your post, it sounds like you would like her to be Internet savvy before she is relationship and life savvy. If you would really like her to be Internet savvy, there are classes and teaching tools for that. From my experience with Movie Star Planet, a child is learning very destructive lessons about relationships and life.

    1. Good points. I actually did have a conversation with her about that online boyfriend. She listened and deleted him and movie star planet was a very short period of her life. I can definitely see how it could've been harmful.

  3. Hmm… I read blogs on a similar topic, but i never visited your blog. I added it to favorites and i’ll be your constant reader.