Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Bully for You

with 2 comments

As a parent, my chief concern revolves around my children feeling secure. That means heading off cyberbullying before it has a chance to occur. If that requires sneaking into the bedroom of a would-be offender and scaring the crap out of him, so be it. The police and their “trespassing” nonsense can go suck an egg.

Fortunately, as my oldest is not yet ten and is nowhere near conversant in all things Internet, this worry remains theoretical. You can put down the shotgun.

Times sure are more complicated. Or at least the technology is; children are just as stupid as they ever were (adults, as a rule, aren’t much better). If you asked me when I was a kid if I had a mobile device, I’d have laughed at you for trying to make a crib toy sound sophisticated (William Safire: “When I was a kid, digital media meant fingerpainting”). Although the day when my kids will lope around with their own Facebook accounts and mobile everything is (please?) still far off, I can’t help but consider the steps to take toward keeping them out of harm’s way.

Keeping them locked in the basement is out; that’s where my in-laws stay when they visit, and the house sort of belongs to them. Also, that’s where we keep the extra boxes of Cheerios, and those must remain untouched until we absolutely need them.

I could try having them get along without any mobile devices whatsoever until they are legally old enough to get their own. I rather doubt it’s all that hard to get by without constant voice or text access to absolutely everyone if one never became accustomed to it in the first place. And in an emergency, you can just ask someone to borrow a phone to make a quick call. I don’t buy any argument that doing so would deprive the poor souls of proficiency in those essential modes of communication; they’ll catch on real quick when the time comes. The drawback to this approach is that my children would never undergo the character-building experience of losing a phone and having to face the wrath disappointment of the parent who paid for it. What better way to justify one’s micromanagement of the kids’ lives than to make them realize they couldn’t function without it? See, I want them to feel secure, as I said.

I suppose I could try all sorts of monitoring techniques, but that means checking up on every text message or keystroke; frankly, I don’t have the time. I have this wildly popular blog to maintain. So instead I could say to hell with it and leave them to their own devices (har!), but as we have seen, children are as stupid as ever. That’s just asking for trouble. What we’re looking for is a method that maximizes security for the children but minimizes effort and time for me.

Which would probably mean putting the little dears up for adoption. So let’s concede that at least some effort on my part is warranted. This is where the breaking-and-entering comes in. As it were. I propose a trade: you monitor your children’s internet activity 24/7 and I’ll try hard to ask mine if anyone bothered them that day.

Hey, if you prefer to lug that shotgun around everywhere, be my guest.


Written by Thag

December 5, 2010 at 8:15 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Absolutely. I would also suggest not having internet access from the child’s bedroom.

    Michael G.

    December 6, 2010 at 6:10 am

    • Way ahead of you. Go with a wireless house and a network access key.

      That way, if the kid visits some objectionable site, he does so on the computer in YOUR room, which makes it look that much more suspicious to the missus.


      December 6, 2010 at 8:22 am

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