- 6 days ago
sassy411 : I’m a tad confused about that story…it sounds like that teen had quite a bit of limits until that one day her mom stepped out, and I highly doubt that was suddenly the first time she ever gave away personal info to a stranger. That girl was likely being groomed for a long time, even with her mom’s restrictions.
Which brings me to something PP have already touched on as well: The type of parent who would catfish their child, are probably the types of parents that drive their children to hide things from them in the first place. I do agree that children want direction and limits, however that doesn’t mean you should go overboard, because kids also want a chance to think for themselves, and will always find a way to do that even if it means sneaking around…and that’s when their freedom can become dangerous.
I was raised by the internet….and I’m not talking about AOL and Myspace in my teens, I’m talking about obscure communities starting when I was a mere 8 year old. It started with kid-specific places (sorta like Club Penguin) with my siblings always looking over my shoulder or even browsing with me. As the years went on I gained more independence, and more desire to think for myself. Yet my parents kept me secluded (“overprotected”)…I hardly ever left the house, and I can count on one hand the amount of times I was able to meet up with my friends outside of school (where socializing was at a minimum). I desired close friendships but was denied the chance to let them flourish. The internet was my only window to the outside world, to intimate conversations with like-minded individuals. I quickly adapted to sneaking around my parent’s strict regulations just to have basic socialization. I can’t tell you how many times I wished I could have vented to my parents about the drama I experienced from some of my online friendships/experiences, but I was so terrified of them taking the whole internet away if they knew that I talk to strangers online, so I kept *everything* hidden. I feel my relationship with my parents had been stunted because I could never open up to them without repercussions.
Regardless, even without my parents knowing everything I did online, and having been online for so long, I *never* ever tried to meet up with someone, or gave personal info such as my address or phone number to anyone (heck, I hardly ever gave my real name or age). Their stern talk about internet stranger danger was enough for me, and I wanted no part of that. Even looking back, I can’t recall anyone I met trying to get my info…I don’t believe I’ve ever met (or was targeted by) an internet predator.
But that’s just me…kids are individuals, and while there’s some degree of prediction of their behavior, I don’t think it’s really fair to assume all kids will (or won’t) sell their souls away if given the chance. Sure, I did some bad things on the internet, but frankly it’s probably better that I made mistakes virtually rather than risk my physical safety. It’s just one of those really difficult things about parenting…being responsible for your child’s safety but also accepting that you literally can’t protect them from everything, and those mistakes your kid will make is really important to their development. The best we can do is try to minimize the risks so that the mistakes they do make aren’t life-threatening ones. You can’t read every message your child sends online, but if you can have an open, understanding relationship with them, they (theoretically) wouldn’t have a reason to hide anything from you. I had an online friend who would invite her mom to come over and meet us while we’re skyping…I envied being able to have that kind of relationship with my mom, lol.