The Web - A Venus Fly Trap: internet safety
Recently I was at a dinner party with several parents. A few of us at the party have a child entering those first phases of being aware and using the web. We all began sharing stories of various funny episodes with our kids. One of the mothers suggested that we listen to a voicemail on her phone. As the voicemail started, it was her son. He is approximately eight years old, very bright and a nice boy. The boy begins to tell his mother that he had just won a free iPod online. He apparently had gotten hold of the iPad while she was gone and was surfing the net. I took a deep breath and thought, "uh oh."
As a marketer, I felt that twinge when I encounter during my own online surfing the horribly misleading promotions that companies run to swindle your information. We all got a good chuckle though out of the voicemail - that is until she played the second voicemail. It was her son again asking for her Facebook log in. We all took a deep breath knowing that this was indeed a fishing expedition. Thankfully, the whole internet safety
scare thing ended as harmless as it started.
As I walked home that evening with my wife and kids, I realized that we as parents take things for granted. We have been sensitized to avoid those cheap marketing scams. But our children have not had those experiences yet. They are but an innocent and unknowing bug approaching a Venus Fly Trap. We grew up with the web. We saw the progression of scams and the growing sophistication of the ploy's that bad guys use. Our kids have not. They jump into the web arena without any knowledge. Scam artists and predators lurk around every corner, only we as parents tune their sales pitch out almost subconsciously.
The key takeaway here is that we as parents must spend quality time with our children on how to understand the wilderness of the web. Just as parents back in the day would show a child how to hunt and gather, what berries to eat and what plants to not touch, we too must do the same in this digital age. Otherwise, we are sending a lamb into the wolves den. -Craig Montgomery is a Marketing Executive by day, Superhero dad of 3 by night