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Warning slight parental rant ahead….(And I’m over at SFC today wondering what to do with my stuff)

Responsibility: A form of trustworthiness; the trait of being answerable to someone for something or being responsible for one’s conduct

Myspace recently entered into an agreement with 49 states to up their level of protection for children against “internet predators and bullies”. The one state that didn’t sign on? Texas.

And I say good for Greg Abbot (even if I do hate the AG’s office but that’s another rant). Don’t look so shocked. Frankly, it’s not Myspaces responsibility to protect my children. It’s mine. The buck stops with me. Not Myspace, not the state. The parent. Funny enough this announcement came on the heels of last week’s LAO: SVU episode about a 14 year old who raped four children after watching hours of porn via cable and the internet. His father was a single parent, his mother was dead. The kid thought it was okay. It was DISTURBING on levels I don’t even have the words for. Had I known what it was about, I wouldn’t have let the kids watch it with me (normally it’s no biggie), but it’ll probably go down as my least favorite of all time. The bottom line? It really drove home the importance of keeping an eye on my children.

Yes, my children use the internet, yes they have their own computer and YES I monitor them. We also have an open dialog about what’s appropriate and what’s not as well as about posting personal information on the net. At the same time, because I write erotic romance, I walk a fine line on hypocrisy. We also talk about sex and they know that what I write isn’t any more appropriate for them to read than porn is for them to watch.

So what do you think? Whose job is it? The state? Myspace? Dialogue……

Ok so I wrote this on Saturday night and I’ve been mulling it over. I THINK what really bugged me about that SVU episode is that the kid didn’t look fourteen. I have a 14 YO son. He’s taller than me and he has a baby ‘stache. This kid looked like he was maybe MAYBE 12. And he’d been picked on. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are little kids in my son’s class–just like I know there’s a kid in the 7th grade who’s 6’1 …. and I know that bullying happens, but I think the fact that he was so so … babyfaced is what made it disturbing.

9 thoughts on “Responsibility

  1. I didn’t see the SVU episode (at least not entirely). I agree with you about who’s responsibility kids are. Even though I don’t have kids, I work with them, and getting them to take responsibility for themselves is difficult because no one else has taken responsibility for them either (their parents). I’m not in favor of the state mandating anything in the private sector.

  2. I agree with you Amie, it is our responsibility as parents to make sure we know what our children are doing. And explain to them right from wrong. My son is on the computer all the time but it’s in the office right next to mine so when he’s on it, I’m usually sitting right next to him.

    I didn’t see that episode, it sounds totally disturbing.

  3. Totally with you on this. I hear all the time about these kids who get taken advantage of either psychologically or physically and the first thing that pops in my head is where the *&^% were the parents?

    My oldest daughter just got internet access last year. My second oldest has supervised access. My son (10) has no access except for when I let him watch Neflix movies or when he’s putting movies on the queue. That’s it. I don’t understand these parents who let their young children on MySpace.

    Bottom line, I’m glad MySpace is trying to do something to stop these sick idiots from preying on the children, but I point the finger back at parents. If they’d do their jobs this wouldn’t even be an issue. The computer is NOT the babysitter.

  4. A few years ago I was watching Oprah or something like that and they were talking about kids who kill. This one 16 year old had killed a couple of people and the father was blaming it on this Spike Lee movie (I don’t remember which one, but it was rated R) and the father kept saying “I’d walk past his bedroom and he would be watching that movie over and over” and I thought “Huh?” Why were you letting him watch it? I wasn’t allowed to see an R rated movie until I was 17. I see these parents with their little kids in R rated movies all the time. Like those parent’s who sued McDonalds for making their kids fat! And if I had children I would decide what they read, not other people. Oh, you’ve hit a sore spot with me. LOL

  5. LOL Bailiey RIGHT! I let my kids watch some questionable stuff but a) we watch it together and/or b) I’ve already seen it. My son actually ragged on me one day because I wouldn’t let him watch Nip/Tuck (not that he wanted to) but would let him watch The Riches….

  6. You are right Amie, it isn’t their responsibility. It’s mine. But, I worry more about what they are doing when I’m not there to watch. Peer influence is scarier than ever in kids today. They are exposed to so much more at much younger ages than we were.

    You know, that ugly thing called INDEPENDENCE rears its ugly head and…well that’s my rant.

    I really don’t know how MySpace plans to be able to monitor that. I mean, once a kid enters an age that says they are past 13 they let them pretty much go anywhere one the site. If they lie about their age, which isn’t at all something any kid would do, they have no way to know. This is because they have no way to verify the information, nor would they. They don’t have the resources.

  7. I really must have missed a memo somehwere that said Parents didn’t have to parent. it’s rediculous. After having talked to heir’s teacher recently, she let it slip, I was the ONLY parent who called her back when she’s had an issue with the classes’ study habits. How sad is that?!?

  8. Hey Amie! I torn here. Yep, I agree parents need to stay on top of things, get a clue. The one thing I have difficulty with is parents who flat-out don’t care. Someone has to take up the slack. Since the internet is such a huge presence, I don’t mind certain controls in place. There’s so much crap out there, and preditors, why make it easy for them? Just thoughts since I have no kiddies at home these days, but I do have grandchildren who thankfully are just at the webkins stage now. I’d like it safe before they actually go into cyber-space, though. I know my girls will monitor them well, but like I said, it’s the children who have no one responsible. It’s a big problem with no clear solution.