How do I talk to her about this?

@soccermom (3200)
United States
August 18, 2008 8:21am CST
I have a daughter who is soon to be thirteen. She tests the waters but is an overall good kid. She asked me last week if she could start an account on a site called MyPraize, it's kind of a myspace for younger kids and it's Christian based. (She's big into religion lately)I said sure, but laid down the ground rules, she couldn't post pics, tell people her real name, location, things like that. So she goes up to my sisters for an extended weekend and my sister calls me, kind of upset because my daughter had not logged out of the computer and one of her chats was still up. She was talking to some boy, nothing suggestive but she told him she was 18. I told my sister I'd deal with my daughter when she got home. In the meantime by brother in law put a keystoke logger on the computer, and this morning forwarded me all her chats. I can't read what was said to her, but what she typed back. She was talking to some boy about being her boyfriend, gave her real first name (Although she spelled it wrong), what state she was in, etc... First thing I did was delete her account. But now I need to know how I discuss this with her. She knew my feelings to begin with, and we've discussed internet predators. I can understand her wanting to grow up, but I'm upset that she blatantly disobeyed the rules! How do I approach this without putting her on the defensive? How do I get through her head the dangers on the internet? What do you think is an appropriate punishment? Thanks for your help!!
9 people like this
21 responses
• United States
18 Aug 08
I'd sit her down, tell that you've deleted her account and why, and explain to her why you gave her the rules that you did. I'm only recently an 'adult', but I probably would NOT mention that you've been reading her chats without her knowledge and have been using a keylogger. That violates a certain trust, to me, and I would probably have gone nuts if I'd learned my parents had done that, when I was a teenager. Mentioning that she left open a chat window would probably be enough to get her wondering what you saw, alone. I don't have any children, but it seems like you set out very reasonable rules and have otherwise been very sensible. I did something similar when I was about 9, and my parents took away all internet access, unless it was completely supervised and for school, for a couple of months. Good luck! You sound like a great, responsible mother and I hope your daughter thanks you when she gets older for watching out and giving her guidance.
@soccermom (3200)
• United States
18 Aug 08
Thank you, I do set reasonable rules, and her and I are very close. I think that's why I am struggling with this, I put complete trust in her. She gets home from my sisters tonite, and I am going to talk to her. She knows I monitor all her internet activity through parental controls and stuff, and I really don't think she'd be suprised to know I was snooping in her conversations. I am going to ground her from the internet for awhile though, that's one of the other things I was struggling with. But if she can't abide by the rules she has to pay the consequences.
2 people like this
• Australia
19 Aug 08
Just a question though, even if you ground her from using the internet for a while, how can you enforce that rule while she is at school? Or friends houses?
2 people like this
@quinnkl (1668)
• United States
19 Aug 08
I disagree with the "trust" thing. She is a child and in your home. She broke the rules, she already broke the trust. Telling her about the keylogging and that you are checking up and will find and deal with what you find if she is not following the rules and protecting herself, is part of the deal. She needs to realize what you will and can do to protect her from this and from herself until she is responsible enough to do it herself! Good luck to you. Tough situation to be in.
1 person likes this
@lyzabelle (1668)
• Philippines
18 Aug 08
Teenagers nowadays are very liberated and opinionated. It seemed they can't wait to grow up fast and explore the world of the adult. The only problem is that they are vulnerable to the outside world. Mostly their judgement are inadequate or lacking. You need to talk to her gently about the rules again. Do it in a calm manner so that she will try to understand everything. Try to talk to her like her friend does. You need to earn her trust and respect before you can get what you want from her. I wish you good luck.
• Australia
19 Aug 08
Your advice sounds very wise lyzabelle. I agree with you.
2 people like this
@insulin (2483)
• Philippines
19 Aug 08
Just talk to her and explain to her that your just concern about it because internet world is really not safe in that age..Just explain to her that you don't want to be a killjoy and you just want her to be safe.Tell her that internet stuffs is not yet for her.I'm sure she will understand it why you did it.:-0 God bless and good luck
3 people like this
18 Aug 08
It was very nice of your daughter to ask permission to register on it while most other teenagers rarely ask such permissions. As for the present situation, it is a mistake that she had done. Deleting her account (which you already did) and not allowing to use it for sometime is enough punishment. More important thing is talk to her calmly like a friend and give her many examples of more internet predators. Example is better than just telling. And don't tell her about keylogger but you tell that one of her chat was still up and that you somehow came to know about her chat. Ask her calmly why she broke rules (ofcourse she wont have answer). Or it would be better if u talk this later and "kalav56" made a good solution. Make a account in MyPraize in some other name and talk to her online and find out more before taking any action.
3 people like this
@tlb0822 (1412)
• United States
18 Aug 08
I think that the internet is another way for predators to get into our homes. I would defiantly tell your daughter that you deleted her account, and that you are not going to allow her to use the internet without supervision. Explain to her that although you respect her privacy, there are to many people out there who could harm her. Even giving out simple information can draw a predator to your home. Just let her know that you know where she is coming from. She wants to be an adult. Tell her that being an adult isn't all what she thinks, and that she should enjoy being a child as long as possible.
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
18 Aug 08
Glad you deleted her account butthen she can open another one . So when talking to her let her know how dissapointed you are in her that she didnt follow the rules! And that she shouldnt lie about age! for this might be an old man she is talking too. Is there a police station ya can take her too for them to talk to her about the dangers . I have seen program on tv all about the preditors out there and what theysay and do maybe if she saw a real case about it she would think better of doing this. as for a punishment all I can think of it no puter for along time!
3 people like this
@kalav56 (11503)
• India
18 Aug 08
This is a highly tricky situation which you will have to handle with greaat care.First of all, you would alienate your daughter completely if she comes to know that your sister has forwarded her chats. Talk to your daughter openly first as a friend and gain her trust that you would always have her best interests at heart. She may want to grow up, but you can just explain pains and hurts faced by grown ups inthat particular stage in a veiled way. Try and make her confess what she did by starting friendly chats with her regarding her opening up an account in that MYPraize and find out [from her mouth ] what progress she has made. Then tell her gently that because she is young and there are internet frauds, you would be involved the next few months in her MYPraize account , so that she would not unwittingly make mistakes.This does not mean that she is not an adult[Tell her that] but that it is safer if another person is also aware of what is going on so that you would be better equipped for any pitfalls.Tell her that it would be your reason.Let her do it with your guidance first. Take i t thereon
3 people like this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
18 Aug 08
If I was in your shoes, I'd sit her down and tell her what I know and ask her for an explanation (especially after she had been given the ground rules). She might not have an explanation for breaking the rules. And I will repaet my reasons for being worried (in a calm tone.....and for this I would have mentally prepared myself earlier). I will then tell her that since she has broken the trust...I think it is fair that she refrains from using the site for some time. And then I'll wait to see what the reaction from my daughter is before I continue. I don't have a daughter....but this is the way I deal with my older son. But I also have to add that I tend to freak out if I have to deal with him soon after I find that he has broken any rules. So, I usually calm myself first and think about what I'm going to say (where he cannot get defensive) and then go ahead with it.
3 people like this
@jillbeth (2711)
• United States
18 Aug 08
First, I would definitely ground her from using the internet for a while, as punishment. Make sure that any friends or family members who have computers she can access know that this has been a problem so they can keep her off. Explain to her that not everyone who is online is who they appear to be, some of them can be downright dangerous, and people can be lying to her the same way as she misrepresented herself! You may have to scare her a little bit with stories of internet stalkers to get your message across. When you allow her back on the computer (since I feel you should, computers are here to stay and people need to know how to deal with them) make sure that you have access to any site she is on. Require that she let you know her password so you can keep an eye on her activities. Check her page regularly and if the password has been changed, don't allow her back on until she tells you what it is, because then she may be trying to hide something from you. We do this with my 12-year-old granddaughter, and explained to her that we do this for her own safety, not that we don't trust her! But apparently you can't trust your daughter, so it is especially important that you know what she's up to.
2 people like this
@jillbeth (2711)
• United States
18 Aug 08
Oh, and since she's "big into religion" as you put it, you might remind her that lying is a sin....
2 people like this
@soccermom (3200)
• United States
18 Aug 08
For the most part I agree with you jill. However I think the "apparently you can't trust your daughter" may be a little over reaching. I have and still do trust her, I just have to question her judgement on this.
2 people like this
• Australia
19 Aug 08
Lying is a sin? For crying out loud, she's only a child still, that's a little bit rough. If i were you i wouldn't ban her from the net, just from websites with chat rooms, or chat programs in particular. The way jillbeth carries on it's like the poor granddaughter has no free will. Sounds like the poor kid is in prison.
2 people like this
@carabear (167)
• United States
18 Aug 08
My parents violated my trust significantly when I was younger and it still hurts me today more than 10 years later. With this in mind, telling her you had a keylogger is NOT a good idea. Instead, just let me know that you are aware she violated the rules based on a conversation that was still open. Let her know that you have changed the password to her account and are not going to permit her to use it for a period, say 2 months or so. Be aware that she is a child, she is going to test your limits. Your job is to respond calmly, and ensure that you do not alienate her for the rest of her life. You should perhaps consider letting her watch shows like Dateline's To Catch a Predator. Things like this might help her to realize the actual dangers that exist. Simply hearing about the dangers might not be enough, she might need to actualy see the dangers. I wish you all of the luck in the situation.
2 people like this
• Australia
19 Aug 08
Actually what you're describing is what happened to me when i was younger. My mum was one of those people who didn't want to even go near a computer, and she didn't have any ideas about what i was doing online. I used to chat to guys all over the world about anything and made alot of guy friends. I gave out my real name, telephone number and real address. Soon i had guys calling my home, sending me gifts etc, and it was hard because my mum got suspicious. She tried to monitor what i was doing online but i was too good for her and i kept my "secret life" hidden away. It wasn't until about one year later that i met this guy, started hanging around with his friends and was sexually assaulted. That was a fast wake-up call, and the fact that my mum didn't know, meant i had no one to turn to. I had to keep it all inside. I didn't even report it because i was afraid of the way my mum would react. That was when i was 17. I'm now 30 but i think it was probably fate, i was always very inquisitive about the world, and i wanted to do everything my way. However, i know you are going to freak out about reading my story. But i think the reason i could get away with so much is that my mum had no idea about computers, and no real interest. You seem different in that you know how to use computers, you have friends and family that help you keep an eye on what your daughter is doing online, and you genuinely care. I wouldn't make your daughter feel like a prisoner, and ban all internet use, because that will just make her more determined to go behind your back. You know when something is not allowed it seems all that more interesting? Maybe you should go online from a different computer when you know she is online in that chat room and see if you can monitor her that way, anonymously. Or even initiate a chat with her anonymously and try to freak her out, it might give her a little "wake up" as to the predators that are out there, masquerading as nice guys. I see that the site is not myspace, it's a christian style site, it should have less predators than other sites but we can never be so sure. It only takes one bad guy to hone in on what he thinks are innocent christian girls. Well, i hope i have not written too much. I don't think you should be too hard on your daughter as it's human instinct to be curious, and you can't blame her for being a teenager, we all were, once! Just maybe show more interest in the computer or do more things on the computer with her. My downfall was that i had no family who really cared what i did online, and had no idea about it. You seem like a great mum who really knows alot and cares, so i wish you the best of luck.
1 person likes this
@soccermom (3200)
• United States
19 Aug 08
snowberries, thanks for your response. I have always been very good at monitoring what she has going on online, you wouldn't believe the argument we had when she felt the computer should be moved from our living room to her "rec room". Thank goodness we are a one computer family, and she finally saw the light on that one. I belong to a "sneaky" group of parents, we all pop in our kids chat sites and see what's going on now and then. I am very proud of her for the way she handled it when I confronted her, and that's what saved her hiney from being in big time trouble. She was sexually assaulted when she was 3, and we all know too well about people you think are "nice guys". I think the thought of not really knowing who she is actually speaking to scared her. I've been accused by family a couple times of being to understanding of what it is like to be her age. But I also have a bond with her that my mom never had with me, we're close, and I plan on keeping it that way. :)
@MOMMASAM (1004)
• United States
18 Aug 08
my blood ran cold when i read your post. what an awful predicament ! kids NEVER think anything bad can happen with the lies on the internet about their age, etc. they think some kid was stupid and they aren't. it all seems so innocent. and, all the kids are doing it. if this were NOT the internet, she still lied to you. she knew better. what punishment would you dole out to her for a lie? a lie that could have tragic consequences? i would focus on how disappointed you are that she accepted the rules and chose to disobey. i would verbally reward her for asking you first to set up an account though. some kids do not even do that.
1 person likes this
@soccermom (3200)
• United States
19 Aug 08
I went and picked her up tonite and stopped and got ice cream and asked her if she had been on the site at my sisters. She said yes. I asked her if she remembered the rules we had discussed and much to my astonishment she came clean, immediately about all of it. I have to commend her for that. Then I told her I was dissappointed in her and she said "I know mom. I'm sorry. I wouldn't blame you if you deleted my account." I didn't tell her I already did. I honestly think she had this lapse in judgement and thought about it, and possibly it scared her. I have to admit although I am dissappointed that she disobeyed I am glad she admitted it with no argument and knows she is wrong.
1 person likes this
@carolscash (9500)
• United States
19 Aug 08
First of all, I would ground her from the internet and I would tell her exactly what she done wrong and explain what the consequences could have been. It is sad that so many people prey on our kids but it is the facts of life. I would also remind her that she blatantly disobeyed and that I did not want to lose the trust that she had built up but that another act like this could cost her just that. I have a daughter who is the same way and she will do things that she knows I will be mad about but that she also knows I will let slide easier than some other things. They do it to show their independence and we have to enforce the rules or the next thing could be a major disobedience and cause her a lot of problems.
@mlh8087 (370)
• United States
19 Aug 08
She's 13 and won't listen to a thing you have to say. Now that you've deleted her account she will go to a friends and create another one. My child started this type of behavior at 12 years of age. It didn't matter what we did, ground her, take away priveledges, etc, she would just circumvent us. She would say she was going to one friends house and then find out she had been at some man's house. It went on like this until finally she ran away from home. We tried all the right things. Counseling didn't work because she would make up stuff to make the counselor think they were making progress. I don't know if you can stop your child from going down the slippery slope. Taking away her computer might do it, but I doubt it. We finally had to send our daughter to jail. After she got her head on straight she finally understood what she had been doing with her life. She now has a good job, good spouse, and the cutest little baby. She finally got her life on the right track. Keep a wary eye on your child and who she is hanging with and that she is really hanging with those people. Kids these days are really sneaky.
@gemini_rose (16193)
19 Aug 08
I do not envy you at all, I have a daughter but she is only two I dread to think what she will be like at thirteen. I also have an older son who is now 16, when he first started to use a computer and would go on the sites for his age group then I would just talk to him about the dangers of believing that people were who they said they were. I told him that people pretend to be a child but in fact are not, I told him that if he felt he wanted to meet people of his age then he had to tell us first so that we knew what was going on. Part of the thing with kids is gaining their trust, luckily my son would tell me everything, I never pried into his online stuff and he had a trust in me. The trouble with these sorts of things is that kids do get defensive and the more we get on at them, the more they retreat into a shell, do not confide in us, we become the bad guys. So then it is hard to punish them without pushing them away, making them more determined to do the things they want that they know they should not. Everytime I was punished as a teenager for doing something that they could have just talked to me about as a young adult, I would go out and do it behind their back. I think that you should just try talking to her point out the dangers of what she is doing but you dont want her going off and doin it behind your back. Sorry this is probably not much help but I hope that you manage to sort it out!
1 person likes this
@mouse27 (1155)
• Canada
19 Aug 08
i have a 17 year old adopted daughter who was the same way when she was 14 always tried going for the older guys. it doesn't matter how you bring it up or if you tell her that you checked out her chats she will still get on the defensive and will know that you checked something out kids aren't dumb and when you tell her that you want to talk to her about her mypraize account the red flags are going to go up saying you were snooping. fact is your her mother and regardless of whether she gets mad at you she has to know that you know what she is doing. she will get mad and tell you she hates you and tell you that you never let her do anything and may even do it some more behind your back but the more you talk to her about it the more she will understand (the getting on the deffensive is just what teens do)
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Aug 08
Such a scary world we live in! Sounds like you did everything right, soccermom. Your daughter was just being a kid, but unfortunately, in this day and age we have to watch over our kids even more. Thank goodness you have a family who was looking out for your daughter and reported what they found. A keystroke logger- that's ingenious. I would ground her from the computer for a couple of weeks and then when she IS allowed back on, put a logger on your computer too (and tell her about it ). I would also notify her friends parents of her punishment, so she doesn't try to go online at a friend's house. I know she's a good kid and just made a bad judgemnet call- they all do it. All you can really do is give her a hug and explain to her how dangerous it is to give personal info out online. A seemingly nice 14 year old boy on MyPraize can be a 45 year old pedophile, or even a not-so-nice 14 year old boy....
1 person likes this
19 Aug 08
As you know the internet can be a dangerous place for young people and your daughter has to learn this and hopefully you can teach her this so that she does not learn the hard way. You will have to sit her down and tell her that you know that she has betrayed your trust and disobeyed the rules. Then ask her what she thinks you should do by way of punishment. This will make her think. She will probably think that you are going to ban her from using the site again but there will be no need to do that as long as you have her password. tell her that at first you will be checking her every day to see what she is doing and then if everything is done by the rules you will only do random checks. It is really important tat she knows why you will be doing this. I think she is old enough to know the hard facts. Hope everything goes Ok with you and your daughter and you stay close as I am with my children. They are both married and have children of their own. They now understand why we had the rules we did when they were children.
• India
19 Aug 08
First of all, no punishment. Be as casual as you can about it…just like chatting. Tell her (with as much a blank face as you can put up) how her account was sent to you by her aunt and why you deleted it. Offer to start a new account for her together where both of you can fudge details (like she suggest a name, you suggest an address etc)…make it sound like a fun deal, something in which you are with her too. Ask for no explanations, demand no obedience per se. password can be set by her of course (privacy!) but then technology can help you to keep a tab on her once in a while. Or better still, you can open an account too and both of you can be ‘friends’ in the virtual world…this may help you understand her world and guide her better.
1 person likes this
@magojordan (3254)
• Philippines
19 Aug 08
I think what you did was just fine. Protecting her from a place like that and explaining it to her are really two different things. Maybe if you tell her facts about those internet predators then maybe she might think twice the next time she would chat with those kinds of people. Also talk to her about your fears that might happen to her when she gets into these stuff. Teens are getting harder and harder to parent nowadays and I hope you lead her well.