Teaching children about internet safety is one of the most important lessons our 21st century kids need to learn. Common online rules for kids are 1) don’t use identifying usernames, 2) don’t share pictures of yourself without showing a parent first, and above all, 3) do NOT talk to strangers. A mom in Australia had a clever way to teach her daughter a lesson after her daughter confessed to chatting online with strangers, and we are here for it.
When Sue Samad’s seven-year-old daughter, Sarah, tearfully confessed to breaking her family’s “no chatting with online gamers” rule, Samad had to decide what her next step would be. “She begged me to ground her as she was wrong and so sorry for breaking the house rules.” Samad wrote on Facebook. “It got me thinking, ok… I ground her, confiscate the iPad but really no lesson is learnt.” Instead, Samad’s “absolutely manic mind” came up with an idea that she hoped would be a deterrent to it ever happening again: she wrote a fake letter from the government.
Samad addressed the letter to herself and her husband, with the “sender” being the Department of Communication’s Security Intelligence for Cyber Safety. The letter stated that her daughter had violated the “cyber internet safety contract for children under 16” and as a result, her internet had been disconnected. Big brother is watching you, Sarah!
The fake government letter made sure to detail the “immediate dangers she has put herself and her sibling in,” and reminded her that people online “do not tell the truth, they lie, they also can hack into their home and financial accounts, and can also locate where they live via their I.P. address on their router.” And because there’s no point in scaring just one of your children when you can scare BOTH of them, so Samad also threw in the line, “please explain the severe breach of security to her sibling as he is also at risk.”
According to Samad’s Facebook post, “The response when I gave her and her brother the letter was exactly what I was aiming for.” I’m assuming they both shit their pants in fear, because that’s what I would have done if I’d thought the government was watching my every move. She also noted that the letter “doesn’t replace continuous education about cyber danger and stranger danger and keeping the open dialogue and honesty with your children.” Honesty, except for that whole fake letter thing, of course.
Samad said that she doesn’t believe in denying her children access to the internet because “it’s part of our life,” but reminded her friends to “watch what our children do online, be the helicopter parent, observe their behavior, be open with discussion even if it’s so uncomfortable and beyond their years of understanding.” I think we can all agree with that.
(Image: Facebook / Sue Samad)