Kids are notorious for keeping secrets from their parents, and in today’s world of technology they have a whole new world of ways to keep secrets. Since kids are also incredibly adept at learning and using modern technology and the following list may help you keep better track of what your child may be hiding.
- Surfing the Internet: Today, kids have almost unlimited access to computers, and now computers are small enough to carry, enabling access to the internet literally anywhere. This gives kids easy access to sites parents may disapprove of, not to mention “adult only” sites that only ask the user to click a link stating they are over 18 years of age. That’s an easy button to click if you want to keep secrets from parents. Close monitoring of your child’s computer history, password protection and parental blocks can keep your child away from inappropriate sites.
- Downloads: Kids love to download- anything they can: pictures, jokes, videos, etc. These downloads may be putting your computer at risk for viruses that could cause permanent damage. Parents need to know the source of any download and that it is safe, as well as keeping up-to-date antivirus protection on all computers.
- Music Downloads: What kind of music are your kids downloading and listening to? Even if the site is safe, the music might not be. Listen to the music downloads. If you are not able to understand the lyrics of the songs, you may want to check them out. You can find an internet music site that has song lyrics available to read. Be careful, though, if you do not allow your child to download certain titles, he/she will probably change the file name of the prohibited song to something allowable.
- Uploads: Kids are not very discerning when it comes to what others should or should not know about themselves, and their families. Find out what sorts of pictures, text and other files your child might be sharing on social networking sites or shared folders.
- Games: What games are your kids playing? Playstation, X-box, computer games, both individual and interactive-online are filled with violence and “adult” themes. Monitor the games your child buys or rents; most are labeled with age guidelines and parental notices. Also, monitor your child’s history with online games. Install a computer block that allows access to only approved sites.
- Friends: Kids have many friends. Some of them, they don’t even know. Facebook and other online social networking sites make it easy for children to fall prey to predatory abusers disguised as “friends.” If your child has a Facebook or other social networking accounts, make sure that you know their username and password, and check in on their activity once in awhile.
- Cell phone use: How much time your kids spend on the phone, when they are calling and who they are calling are important to know. Read the itemized portion of your bill each month to double check, and if there is a number you don’t recognize or don’t want your child accessing, have it blocked through your service carrier.
- Texting: With unlimited texting capabilities on cell phone plans, your kids can text anyone at any time, day or night. Parents need to know who they are texting and the language they are both reading and using while they are texting.
- Abbreviations: LOL, and CUL maybe be familiar “social” abbreviations, and ROLOFLMHO may be used by your kids without any qualms, but ROLOFLMAO might be offensive to some parents. Do you know the difference? Also, new abbreviations are added to the lexicon of technical communication on a daily basis. As a parent you need to be familiar with abbreviations so as to know what your kids are saying. You can check the internet for sites that list abbreviations and meanings.
- Plagiarism and cheating: That kids are able to access information which expedites learning in ways never before thought of, is a wonderful outcome of technology today. That kids can also use this information to cheat in ways never before thought of, isn’t.
Kids will be kids, and they will try to “get away” with anything they can; this will never change. But the world of technology changes every day, and if parents remain technologically savvy, kids will have to work very hard to continue keeping those secrets.