A mom writes in asking for advice about her 9-year-old daughter. She says her daughter has been caught multiple times talking to strangers (via chatrooms within games). This mom says she’s tried many times to talk to her daughter, explain how dangerous that can be, and has made it clear that is not allowed. She’s deleted her daughter’s games and banned her from using the iPad until she can figure out a way to convince her daughter to stop chatting with strangers online.
A member of the community asks:
“How can I help my daughter understand it is dangerous to talk to strangers online?
My nine-year-old daughter has been caught twice now chatting online in games with strangers. We’ve had so many talks with her, and we monitor her whenever possible, but any chance she gets, she’s back at it. I’ve deleted all of the games and banned her from the iPad now until I can figure out what to do. Any tips or helpful sites/videos I can show her to really help her understand the seriousness?! “
Community Advice for This Mom Who Wants Her Daughter to Understand the Dangers of Talking To Strangers Online
To see what advice the Mamas Uncut Facebook community has for this mom in need, read the comments of the post embedded below.
The community offered this mom in need a lot of great advice. Read some of their responses below.
“She’s nine. Give her a coloring book and make her go outside and play with dirt.”
“Take everything away from her. She isn’t responsible enough.”
“I see people saying that she should be denied access completely. But let me tell you, strict parents make sneaky kids. If you caught her doing it after being told no what makes you think she won’t try to do it with her friends or without you knowing? I was that sneaky kid. She needs education. Even if it’s slightly shocking/horrifying, it’s better than being sheltered and not knowing what the real world is like because that is how you run into trouble. Especially as a young female. I’ve been there.”
“You know, penpals are serious. I’ve developed many life long friends over the internet. Instead of banning her from it, teach her “red flags”, and teach her how to have boundaries and to always come to you. Banning her from it won’t stop her forever and she could just rebel against it and then end up in a bad situation. Giving her the tools to socialize and make a variety of friends WHILE being safe and to avoid/block certain people.”
“Gonna play devil’s advocate here… just monitor what she does. Watch what she’s saying. I started playing online games at 7 years old (too young IMO) and I met a group of 7 people at 7 years old that I am still best friends with at 24 years old. We’ve traveled across the country, have had sleepovers. My parents took me to meet them when I was like 13 and I had the time of my life…
… I have friends in real life, but my online friends are my best friends in the whole wide world. You said she keeps doing it behind your back. Instead of keep taking it away, why don’t you just be included? My parents and grandparents looked at my texts, watched me play the game, and even included themselves on Skype calls by sitting in the same room and chatting to them too. Just my input. Obviously do what you think is best.”
“Ummmm… you just don’t let her on anything that’s connected to the internet. that’s the only solution to your problem. Try again in a year or so when she has (hopefully) matured a bit. And if the same problems arise, you shut it all down again.”
“Taking it all away is going to produce a child who lies and hides what’s she’s doing. Our kids are living in a different time than we were. Many games are interactive. Place parental controls have electronics in open areas, review online privacy. Monitor her activity. My daughter is now 19 and has certain online platforms where she interacts with strangers…..just as I am with all of you. It’s a new age, they need strict parameters but trying to make it nonexistent seems like it will backfire on you big time.”
“My daughter is 12 and I found out she was messaging someone she didn’t know. Telling him she was 15, I told her I called the actual person (which I didn’t) and he was a 40-year-old man… I explained that he could track her phone or laptop and come to take her and her little sister. Seemed to do the trick, scared the hell out of her. I also took the phone away.”
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