Thursday, April 19, 2012

Privacy for our Children

Since Caskey works for Google we have been very strict about the children using the internet age-appropriately.  None of my children have Google+ or Facebook pages because they are not legally allowed to do so.  Quite frankly we have steered clear of social media for the children for a number of reasons; cyber bullying being one of them.

Its not that I want my children to be computer-illiterate, quite the opposite.  We encourage the children to learn touch typing, email family members, and use complicated digital devices like GoogleTV and Kindles.  They manage just fine.  But releasing them out into the big bad internet world where I can't "overhear" their conversations.

I don't just worry about the affect social media will have on them now, but in the future.  Potential employers have implemented policies on Googling candidates as part of the interview process.  Any information they put on the internet will represent them and follow them, the internet has a long and unforgiving memory.  I don't want their poorly thought out escapades of the teen years to come back and haunt them as they apply for college or their first job.

Its hard to believe that my children already have a Facebook presence, despite the fact that they don't have an account or even access to Facebook.  I have told anecdotes about Student of the Month, shared pictures of being dressed up for holidays.  In addition other family members and friends post stories of my children and pictures.  We are flying by the seat of our pants in this new age and a new protocol needs to be created for sharing images and stories of ones children.   When is it okay to post pictures of a play date with a friend?  Do I need to ask the friend's mother first?  Do we ask the child?  This is a whole new territory and simply uploading pictures and stories isn't a one time event, the internet remembers.  What kind of affect will this have on the child's future?

Perhaps I need to take down my blog when the children reach the teenage years, maybe before.  I don't think I want potential babysitters stumbling upon stories of childish antics.  Keeping my blog active to connect with far away friends and family is necessary, but so is respecting my child's internet privacy.  Finding the middle ground is quite the challenge.

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