Like many parents, I try to take steps to keep my kids safe online, making sure that they understand not to share personal information online, or even to use their real names. They know how to write appropriate emails, and I am constantly monitoring what they do, the emails they send, and most importantly, engaging in a constant dialog with what they are doing online.
But when I logged into my Google Buzz account this evening, I found that my 9 year old daughter had posted the following:
Pretty innocuous, but it was PUBLIC! I saw it because Buzz conveniently made me a follower of hers. I pride myself on staying ahead of my kids, but this time, my kid got ahead of me. She used Buzz without fully understanding that what she thought was a private conversation with her friends was in fact very much public.
Fortunately, this was her only Buzz posting. But what was most disturbing was looking at her friends’ conversations and realising that some of them were chatting with complete strangers, and in some cases, sharing personal information like emails. Absolutely terrifying as these are 4th graders who have no clue.