SchoolFamily Voices

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Internet Safety: What the kids search for online.

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My friend and colleague Marian Merritt of Symantec sent a note about some very interesting research from Symantec.  It comes from 6 months of data (millions of kids’ searches) from the new OnlineFamily.Norton.com service.   I’ve been serving on the Advisory Board for this cool new parent tool for nearly a year now.


CNET covered the story in detail (and Marian makes some excellent points in the article), so we’ll link directly to the CNET story about what kids are searching for online.   The Top10 search terms:


1. YouTube
2. Google
3. Facebook
4. Sex
5. MySpace
6. Porn
7. Yahoo
8. Michael Jackson
9. Fred ( a fictional Youtube character, we’re told)
10. eBay


At least 5 or 6 of those 10 present challenges for us parents that we have to address.


The upshot from my perspective is that as parents – and especially as parents who want our kids to thrive in a digital age – we have a responsibility to help them do their online living safely and smartly.  We don’t send our 5-year-olds to the playground without help; we don’t send our 15-year-olds onto the Interstate without lessons; and we shouldn’t be sending our school kids on the ‘Net without able guidance.   I personally like the OnlineFamily tool, but there are lots of Family Internet Safety tools out there for you. Are you using one on your home computer?  Are you learning enough about this stuff to help your child thrive?  Throwing away the computer or snipping the Internet connection isn’t a realistic option in a day when kids can get online seemingly everywhere and from every device.


My mother-in-law liked to say: “Parenting ain’t for Wimps.”  I suspect that’s even more true for parenting on the Web.  We have to be there and appropriately parent our kids’ web habits, just as we do the rest of their key developmental habits.  What are you doing to be there with your kids, even the young kids?


PS – Are you on Twitter?  I’ve  been starting to get into the whole Twitter thing.  Follow me at www.twitter.com/TimPTO)



#3 Kigose 2009-08-31 13:55
@ Erin TM
Kids can access from many places: neighbors' PC or smart phone. The most important thing is to point them to appropriate website, especially in their adolescence period.

School Search Engine
#2 Erin 2009-08-12 19:49
Way to much on the web to let kids on there by themselves. I think we are going to treat computers like the TV, none in bedrooms, only in public rooms. I hope this will limit the searches that go on?
#1 KenS 2009-08-12 17:33
Twitter is for the seelf-obsessed. .. don't fall for it!!!!! nooooooo!!!

You are dang right when your grams said parenting ain't for whimps. The problem is, too many parents ARE whimps and won't take control of the Internet connection in their house. That means setting up controls, setting rules and monitoring. It's fine to let young users explore and grow up digitally, but that doens't means parents should be looking the other way. there's too much at stake...

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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?