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February 28, 2006

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The Dateline story posts a poll featuring live votes: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11064451/#survey

The majority, 56%, think both parents and tech web sites need to step up and be responsible for guarding teens' online safety. Surprisingly, only 6% thought the sites should have better monitoring.

Some of these things do cause anxiety because we hear or experience the stories as parents and then have to figure out the answers or how to guide our children through these issues. Maybe a child wants to document feelings online and regrets it afterwards when feelings change...The boundaries between public and private are not understood?

My daughter had no idea until I talked to her about how permanent the record can be compared to the transient nature of her feelings, which can change overnight.

She didn't understand the "cacheing" (am I spelling this right?) nature of these sites. Will she regret something years later, like Paris Hilton now regrets (or maybe not) leaving her diaries in a storage unit where the bill forgot to be paid and legally the diary is no longer in her hands/under her ownership?

I explained to my daughter that what she writes online is like Paris Hilton's diary. It is potentially open for all to read.

So yes, it is important that as parents and adults that we understand these new structures enough to explain the dangers and facts to the NextGen.

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