Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Myspace and kids...

Funny that I had just blogged about letting my 10-year-old daughter have a myspace page... and feeling that it was harmless if I kept close tabs on her. I had also downloaded the myspace IM program for her. And that was the mistake. I set it up so that only people on her friends list could contact her through the IM program. Somehow 2 people that she didn't know sent her IM's.

Now, when she first started using computers at school I sat her down and talked to her about entering/giving out personal information. When we set her up with a laptop and wireless internet connection in her room I had another discussion with her about never giving out any personal information. When I set up her myspace page I had yet another talk with her about never giving out any personal information. I mean I *really* had a talk with her on all these occasions and explained to her the dangers of giving out information. Also, on all these occasions we discussed *never* talking with anyone online that she didn't know.

Thank God I was checking her myspace page and messages every day. I noticed that she had a friend on her friend's list that I didn't know, and didn't approve. And this friend was from the state that we are moving to. I knew she didn't know this person. I immediately went upstairs to ask her about it - and of course as soon as I walked in the room I could see her close out of something on the computer. So I asked her about this friend, and after much nonsense talk I finally got out of her that it was someone she was talking to through the IM program. She believed that it was another girl of 11 years old who lived close to the town we are moving to. Which meant that she had divulged this location to this person. This person IM'd her, which means that somehow they got around the block on it (supposedly only people on her friends list could IM her)... so it could not have been some 11 year old girl. Luckily I had the IM program set up to log IMs. I looked through their conversation and saw that she had given out her name, her age, where she lived (just the state) and where she was moving to (and yes, she actually named the city, which is a very small town)! While I was going through her IM logs she got an IM from some supposedly 17 year old boy in Jamaica, who she had apparently been talking to when I came up to her room. She knew that what she was doing was wrong. She had also given that boy her name, age and state and on top of that had asked him what else he wanted to know!

Needless to say, I pulled her wireless card out of the laptop faster than you can say wireless. And unfortunately for her I am deleting her myspace page. And I'm deleting the IM programs from her computer. She's not getting the wireless card back until after we move. And when we move her computer will be downstairs within constant supervision.

The horrible thing is that I thought I was being careful. I thought I was checking up on her enough. I thought she would be able to handle herself appropriately. I thought I had talked to her enough and stressed to her enough the importance of not giving out personal info and not talking to people she didn't know. This really goes to show that you just can't be too careful. And I need to do much more work with her on being careful in this world.


Nissa said...

It's so scary and oh so true. No matter how careful & informative we try to be, kids seem to have that 'popularity' urge and will talk to all sorts of people on the computer that they shouldn't.

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