Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ladies' Home Journal and Parry Aftab look for "lowest common denominator" for kids' safety on Internet

Ladies’ Home Journal has an important article by Mika Brzezinski, on p 82 of the “September issue” (2010), titled “Internet Intervention”, where the author, cohost of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, must intervene to control her daughers’ online use. Internet security consultant Parry Aftab, of “WiredSafety” meets with the family.

The LHJ has the following video of the meeting; some versions of it require subscription:

Many of the recommendations sound trite: keep the “family computer” in a public area, no closed doors, etc. Note how Parry Aftab plays the outside professional, telling the family and kids what to do.

I generally think parents can adjust their rules according to the maturity of their kids. But remember the case of the New Jersey principal who wanted all parents in his middle school to ban Facebook and other social networking sites at home? The thinking is collective, even quasi-Maoist: if some kids are restricted, but see that their better-off friends aren’t, their own parents will have a harder time enforcing these kinds of “rules.”

Here’s a “TVNewser” account of the story, link.

I could not find a LHJ link to the text of the story yet. But here is a story from April 2005 that is provocative, by Stephanie Emily Pfeffer, “"Are Online Blogs a Good Idea for My Kids?": Online diaries -- aka blogs -- can be fun and innocent, or they can lead to trouble. Here's what parents need to know”, link here.

Michelle Obama says she doesn't let her daughters use electronic media "at home" at all during the week. What about homework?

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