Stranger Danger… online

20 Apr

One in five 9-12 year olds have a Facebook page, according to research by the London School of Economics. Last weekend, while at my sister’s house, my scarily tech-savvy 6-year old nephew was playing some game that required him to make friends with other people in the game. When the adults in the house realised, an air of shock filled the room. I promptly took the computer off him and had a play on the game myself. He didn’t seem to have any friends writing to him, but it is definitely something my sister now needs to keep an eye on.

I’m not sure how I will feel when Toby reaches the age of playing around with computers. At 14 months his favourite toys are already the iPad and iPhone. One thing’s for sure, I will keep him away from social networking sites and computer games for as long as possible. Surely these 9 year olds should be out climbing trees and learning to interact in the real world, not on social networking sites. Life is about playing with toys and riding bikes when you’re young, not holing yourself up in a room with a computer. I agree with Peter Bradley, Kidscape, that ‘parents need to be firm with their children when it comes to Internet use’.

The Internet has added a whole new dimension to parenting. In my day (showing my age!) ‘Stranger danger’ was hammered into our brains and we were constantly being told not to accept sweets from strangers. The threat isn’t only on the streets now, it’s in children’s bedrooms. As soon as Toby can type (which will probably be before he can use a pen) I will be investing in some rather clever technology to try to protect him from horrible people lurking in the shadows of cyberspace.

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4 Responses to “Stranger Danger… online”

  1. helloitsgemma April 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    thanks for comment on my blog, popped over and so glad I did. Great post – very true, wish children spent more time outside but the big ‘stranger danger’ has driven children away from playing in the woods or the park unsupervised, as I did as a child and back to the home – and so the computer. There seems to be such a pressure to allow children computer games and their own consoles and laptops – without think it is OK.

  2. Claire April 20, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Thanks and you’re welcome re: comment. Your photo was brilliant. You’re right about the strangers in parks and woods. Times have certainly changed and I do think it’s sad that children now rely on computers for entertainment and socialising.

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