Monday, October 15

Safe on the internet . . . it's a matter of trust and openness

I wander in, as one does from time to time when the grandchildren are browsing the internet. This one looks up, a charming horse-mad 11-year-old. I peek over her shoulder and note she's happily playing games on a site specifically designed for horse-mad children:

Down the page, I see a big, garish button: “Do not enter unless you are 18.” We exchange a conspiratorial glance, and I press it. Up comes a Love Compatibility Calculator. You're asked to type in your name and also the name of your current crush, then hit Continue.

I go to do that, but the grandchild pipes up: “It asks you for your mobile number.” Ooops! We exchange another conspiratorial look, and that's the end of it.

Two thoughts: First, any child who obeyed an instruction not to enter because she had to be 18 would be just too goody two shoes to carry my DNA. Second, I'm pleased she knew it would be unwise to pass on her mobile phone number.

The protection of children from net nasties is back in focus following the Federal Government's national distribution of a booklet of advice for parents, and probably is a good idea for parents – and grandparents – but nothing beats an open and trusting relationship between children and their elders.

If you're worried about net nasties and looking for ways to protect your children, Telstra's BigPond offers good advice.

If you're curious about the term goody two shoes, try this.

And what did the Compatibility Calculator lead to? An offer to send a horoscope bi-weekly at a periodic charge of $6. Presumably over-18s would have credit cards. Otherwise they'd have to pester Daddy.

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