Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Latchkey Kid

Iris' carpool drops her off at home every afternoon. She is home alone for 15-45 minutes and loving it.

We leave the computer unlocked because her homework requires her to do internet research. She is "very responsible" about that. LOL

A mommy coworker wonders if I am OK about letting her use the internet.

I am ambivalent. But, even when I am home, I am not always in the same room with her. We tend to leave the doors open and go about our independent activities.

How do you handle this?


  1. From other things you've written, it seems clear to me that you are pretty comfortable talking with her and she with you.

    I'd talk to her about the ambivalence. Not all the details, but sort of the "there are neighborhoods on the internet that I think you might not want to find yourself in." That can be said as explicitly or as euphemistically as you want.

    There are two different issues -- information she gives out and information she receives, either by looking for it or by email.

    You can control the first, somewhat, by talking about what you tell other people, and while you can't completely control the second (safe search clearly gives you some control), you have a huge influence over how she is affected by it.

    But then, aren't these the same issues we face in all the interaction our kids have? It's just that the internet is more info, faster and they don't need you to drive them there.

    I figured I needed to tell my kids (3 boys) they might see things that were strange or that upset them. I told them that if they did, I hoped they would talk to me about them. They did and they did. It seems to have worked. They're adults now.

    I'm not just talking about sexual content. Think about the reactions children have to Bambi. There are things you might not think to block that could be upsetting; but I don't think the alternative of blocking everything is a good or realistic one.

  2. Here's how I handle it:

    1. Computer in the living room, though I am not always there.
    2. Firefox browser with NoScript set to forbid all. Sites we want to allow have to be explicitly allowed. Anyone can do this.
    3. Good communication about what is appropriate.


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