Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Need opinions for my next podcast

I think the topic of my next podcast episode (What Your Child's Teacher Wants You to Know About Your Kid) is going to be on the topic of computers and the Internet in children's bedrooms.

I want to know YOUR opinion about this. When you comment, please let me know if you are a teacher, parent, (or both or neither), or a student. Telling me your age helps if you are under 40. No one under 40 should ever have to speak their age aloud. (Haha, just kidding!)

Here's my question: Should a child have Internet access in his or her bedroom? Does a child need his or her own computer? At what age should this privilege begin? How do you handle this in your family?


Kaz said...

Teacher and mother of three (17, 16 and 7).
No I don't think children should have access to the Internet in their bedrooms. The teenage boys already spend enough time avoiding me, I don't want to add incentive to that by giving them another distraction in their bedrooms. I prefer they are at least physically in the same room as me...even if they don't want to talk to me. :-)

I do believe that high school is a good time to give them their own computer. Ian is a senior and just got his own Mac Book Pro. Nate has his own but only because he is using a hand-me-down from his dad. Both the older boys need them for homework and class projects. It would be challenging if we had to share "a" computer...so it seems practical to have their own.


Anonymous said...

Ex teacher and "mother/father" of three (7, 5, 1). I don't think children should have internet access in their room. A computer in their room is acceptable, as long as it is monitored. They don't necessarily need internet access to do their homework. Around the age of 15 would be the time I would consider internet access in their room, DEPENDING on the child. Some children can handle this, others can't.

Bronwen said...

As a teacher and mum of 2 I like to know what my kids are up to when they are on the computer. I know that there are net nannies and the like that can report on their activities, but personally I really like the conversations that are sparked by having communal computers - be it "thinking out loud" dialogues as we help each other out, or "you've got to see this" discoveries, or even "it's my turn on the computer"!

I would prefer to have a laptop station in the family room when they need their own computers, than a computer in their room.

Sarah Bell said...

This is my own experience:
(facts in case they're helpful)
-I'm 25 YO
-I'm the oldest child of 2, my brother is 6 years younger.

When I was young, we only had an "old" IBM machine that I didn't know how to use well. It wasn't until 7th grade (~12 yo, ~1996) that we purchased a Mac computer that had dial up. This computer sat in the family room where everyone could access it and there were no restrictions on it's use. It wasn't until High School that I began to use it primarily for chatting with friends, emailing, using LiveJournal, and loading photos to use Photoshop. The computer was still in the family room and I had full access to it. I think that since it was so available and my parents didn't put a mysterious, "there's something bad about this so we have to restrict your access" that I wasn't obsessed with using it, nor did I have interest in anything other than chatting with my friends (I wouldn't engage in chats with people I didn't know or go to sites that were "adult content"). In sophomore year of high school, I had saved up enough money (babysitting and the like) to purchase my own computer. My parents were in favor of this since I had worked hard for something I truely wanted. I was into computers, photography and staying in touch with friends, so they thought it would actually be healthy for me to have my own computer in my room.

Personally, I like how my parents treated the use of the family computer. I think that the way they utilized it as a tool instead of a "bad" thing with "bad" people on it, made me both unaware and uninterested in potentially dangerous things (online predators, adult content, etc).

My brother grew up with computers in pretty much the same way (even though "the internet" was far more developed by his time). He was able to use the family computer in the family room until about sophomore year in high school when he got his own.

Since I don't have children, I can't say what I do with them. But if I did, I know that I would probably allow unlimited computer usage until it was abused. I wouldn't allow a computer in a kids room until they were mature enough to understand and handle what they would come across. I think sophomore/junior year of high school is a good time for a kid to have their own computer. That seems like the age when individuality and independence is so important.

carissa said...

HI! Umm It would honestly be a lot of fun having your own laptop in your own room and I would gladly accept one if offered. BUT, I don't need a laptop. The internet is being used a LOT more for school purposes but the numbers of places to access the internet has also increased and so I've never needed a laptop. We have one main PC and a few laptops around the house. But none of them is personally my sister's or personally my laptop. Instead we use them so anyone can go on them at any time. It's important to establish whats wrong from right on the internet to your child. In turn, I establish a trust with my parents that I won't watch anything inappropriate. So I'm more free...in a good way.

sorry if it doesn't really answer all the questions directly. my thoughts are jumbled...king of...

Mudder said...

Mother of four, grandmother of two, and a teacher. Absolutely unequivocally opposed to children having a computer with internet access in their bedroom. Once they are in high school, I think it's OK, because they are on their way to adulthood and they need to learn that responsibility. But if they have a laptop, they will often bring it out to join the family while they do their stuff.

Alison said...

Teacher and Mother of 2 (12 and yikes... 5 in two weeks!).
No computer or internet access is permitted in the bedroom. Laura has her own laptop - she got it for her 12th birthday. It's kept in the living room, and she is only allowed to use it in common areas. She has no access to the internet unless we put in a password (we have a wireless network in the house).
She is allowed to use it for homework, research, emailing Oma in New Zealand, and playing games occasionally (she earns minutes for games).
The main reason she has her own is because I'm terrible at sharing. 6th grade is a good time to get familiar with typing and such though, so I don't think it's a bad idea as long as internet time is appropriately supervised

Diane E. Main, GCT NorCal 2006 said...

This comment was left on my Facebook:

"Mine is 18 now, always had Internet access on family computer in open areas with parent home and parent consent every time, time and sites were limited and monitored since he was little (prodigy days along time ago) never had Internet in his room until approx 16ish. We had parental controls till 18. We unlocked when we were home for his homework and surfin. We were considered strict probably. But brite kid in the end"

Diane E. Main, GCT NorCal 2006 said...

@Alison -- Can you believe our kids are FIVE?!?! I was thinking about Erin the other day when I realized her birthday was coming up!

Michelle Longo said...

I am the mother of one, he is 2 years old. I have no intention of giving him his own computer any time soon. For the near future at least, he can use mine, with supervision. At such time as he needs his "own", he can have a laptop which will no doubt have internet access. Then he can use it in his room if he needs space/quiet, but should any respect or trust be violated, it can easily be moved to a communal area or taken away outright without disrupting the furniture.

Anonymous said...

Mothe of 2, Technology Integrationist, and Teacher I am not going to allow computers in the bedroom. We have laptops for all of our students, I see to many who are tired, because they were up all night gaming or surfing, whatever. Also, as my kids get older, I realize I won't always be #1 mom and don't want to lose at least being in the same room. Who knows maybe they will find something interesting they want to share. I also am going to go so far as to have the cell phone charging stations in a common area. This way they are texting and talking all night long also. Guess those come from being in the HS trenches all day and listening to what the kids have to say.

Diane E. Main, GCT NorCal 2006 said...

The most recent anonymous commenter there brings up a good point: cell phones. I have decided that when my son (now 5) is old enough to have a cell phone (a topic for another podcast episode), he will surrender it to us at a certain time each night. We'll charge it for him, but we'll also know, then, if his peers are trying to contact him outside approved hours. Until he's 18, I think I will keep his phone between bedtime and waking.

If someone thinks this is Draconian, I don't mind. I have had enough with teens overstepping bounds in my home in the past.