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Are Your Kids Web Wise?

Rebecca Hagelin

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Like many of today's 12-year-old girls, my daughter can type up a storm "chatting" with her little friends online. As a matter of fact, Kristin seems to type just as quickly as she talks -- a mile a minute.

It's a good thing she's fast, because I allow her to cyber-chat only a few minutes a day. Sometimes Kristin's instant written conversations with her friends (although brief) are so much like "real" conversations that she laughs out loud, or talks while she's typing, as if her friend is right there in the room. I marvel at the technology and the incredible benefits it offers her generation.

But I'm also keenly aware of the dangers of both surfing the Net and allowing kids to chat online. Our computers are safely located in an open room so they can be easily monitored. It's a very bad idea to put TVs or computers in kids' bedrooms -- you never know who or what they might come across or how much time they might spend blankly staring at the screen.

Kristin falls into the all-too-vulnerable middle-school-age group of kids who spend large amounts of time on the Net for both entertainment and social interaction. I've written many times about the risks associated with "random" Internet surfing -- stats reveal, for example, that children as young as five are now regularly being exposed to porn online. It's a devastating problem that destroys the innocence of our children and threatens their emotional, moral, social and spiritual development.

Read th entire article on the Heritage Foundation website (new window will open).

Posted 12/13/04



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