Send them to the cyber slammer?

Oh boy... here we go again.  Another facebook first.

It seems two middle school girls are in deep trouble for creating bogus accounts and bullying others.  I personally am glad the little brats got caught.

By middle school, parents should have taught their children whats right and wrong.  I know kids will be kids and do things we as kids did.  But this is a new world and parents need to monitor what is being done online.  We have seen too many tragic things happen as a result of cyber bullying.

My children have been online since the age of about 5.   We have done many websites together.  There are alot out there to choose from.  It started wtih webkinz.  If you are a parent you know exactly what this is.  At $15 a pop for the stuffed animal, we have easily invested $500 so my children could have a virtual pet world of fuzzy friends in igloos, treehouses and pools.  This website is pretty standard as far as talking to others.  You can't say whatever you want to anyone.  It's all pick a phrase and post it.  Everything is positive and nice about this website.

Then they moved on up to the ever so popular Club Penguin.  Buying fake food, homes, furniutre.   Playing learning games to earn "money" in the penguin world to buy what they need.  Again the intereaction is pretty monitored.  They don't have free reign of what to say to each other.  And the phrases that they can pick from are all very positive.  The worst thing that can happen is you pick the phrase "please go away" if someone is following you around the pizza place.   

My children have asked for a facebook.  LOL.  AS IF!   I told them when they are fourteen they will get a facebook account.  There is nothing for kids on facebook.   So they opened up a WEE WORLD acccount instead.  This was a little more adventurous for them.  They could pick what color hair their boy or girl had, dress them in groovy clothes and talk freely to other Wee World players by typing in what they wanted to say once they became friends.  I sat and monitored.  And saw some minor  bullying already happening.

This is when I stepped in.  I told them they are never ever ever to be mean to anyone online.  They are to tell me and we will report the problem.  My girls have cried a couple of times because someone out there told them they were ugly.  They... as in their virtual Weee World person.  But trying to explain this to an 8 year old is a little hard.  They take everything so personal.

Look.  I don't want to sit there and watch them play online.  Or have to referee a pretend online game.  But as a parent, if I am going to let them get access to total strangers and be a part of the big cruel world, then it's my job to do just that.  And teach them about the right way to treat people online.  And tell them there are real people at the other end and there are certain things you don't do.  Or you will be punished.

One of their friends started being mean to them online in this pretend world.  It kept happening.  And this is a very very close friend.  I thought it sounded like the start of bad behavior that could just get worse if not nipped in the bud, so I called her mother and told her what was happening.  It seems her daugther gave her password to someone else that was then harrassing all of her friends on her friendslist.  I don't know what happened to the girl who was harrassing.  Again, this is where you hope the parenting gene kicks in and they get her offline for punishiment.

My children are not angels.  They have said things not nice to other virtual friends online. And when I heard about it, they were grounded from the website for a week.

So there HAS been time for these middle school girls to learn right from wrong.  It's not like the internet was just invented.

This is about parenting.   I think some parents just give too much free range and don't teach children values and morals.

Here is a little side note.   I played prank calls when I was younger.  My mom never knew.  But the girl I called and tried to play a prank on found out it was me, must have been my laugh, and beat me up at the bus stop the next day.  True Story.  Sure I lived.  I had a black eye.  But I learned my lesson.  I don't think I ever made a prank call again. 

This is a new world we live in.  There is alot of violence and negativity out there.  And too many parents are NOT DOING there job.  It's not the same world we were in when our parents told us goodbye in the morning when we walked out the door only to see us again at dinner unless we ate with someone else.  I didn't have any check in times.  Or, OMG, a cell phone so my mom could reach me at anytime.  Those days are GONE.  I don't know why the world is such a meaner darker place.  Well, okay, I have my opinion, but I don't want to bring religion into this.

What I am trying to get through to some parents heads is that you HAVE TO TEACH your children right from wrong at an early age.  If you start doing it from the time they are able to talk to you, nobody will be shocked.  My children know about drugs, cyber bullying, guns, the BAD MAN who wants to steal them if they walk alone, the ever popular person who bribes you with candy out of their trunk and thanks to their much older sister, making out.  Of course I told them that just sounds gross and no boy better ever try to put his tongue in my mouth.

Let's see what happens to these girls that are charged with this facebook crime.  I don't think the slammer is the answer.  Maybe a few hours in juvenile.  Community service.  Classes about internet safety and bullying.  I don't know.  I hope their parents ground them from getting online for a couple of years though.   But I doubt the parents will do anything.

We have to stop turning our backs and thinking that once kids get to a certain age they are on their own.  That is why kids are building bombs and making diabolical plans in their basemnts and garages without their parents even having a clue of who they are.  My kids can't even go number two without me KNOWING.  I'm just saying.

Stay active in your kids lives.  FOREVER.  Know them.  Teach them.  I feel really strongly that these parents should be punished too for not doing their job properly.  Yes it's hard. It's time consuming.   But it really is the most important thing you will EVER EVER do.

My kids are watcing me type this and when I am done they will read it.   And as a good parent, which I think I am, they have not read ALL MY BLOGS!



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