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:
8. Michael Jackson
9. Fred ( a fictional Youtube character, we’re told)
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)