To the Editor:
I find the lack of faith in some teens while they’re online disturbing. In your recent article about teens’ online behavior, Mark Peloquin stated that “allowing children to have computers in their bedrooms is one of the worst things a parent can do.”
I am now 19 years old and have had a computer with Internet access in my room since I was 11, and unsupervised access to a computer since I was 9. I was allowed to do this because my parents had faith in my common sense.
Don’t share details with people you don’t know. It should be common sense in your household, and if it’s not, don’t blame the Internet. Not all strangers on the Web are pedophiles. In fact, one of the strangers might be your child! Even other kids! What a novel concept: teenagers networking with other teenagers in a medium that isn’t school. It can allow them to be creative and find new outlets as well as meet people with similar interests.
That being said, teens who are derelicts on the Internet aren’t that way because of the Internet – they were that way before. If you can’t trust them in real life, they don’t deserve unsupervised access.
But by using strict parental controls, you’re stymieing their self-education. How will you know how to ride a bike if your parents don’t trust you to take the training wheels off?