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Ask Parry!

Ask Parry!

Questions and answers

Ask Parry! Ask Parry! is a service where Parry Aftab, noted online safety and privacy expert, and Executive Director of can answer your questions about online safety, privacy and security, and help you with problems you encounter online. Anything from help finding a safe chat room for your teens, to knowing what to do if the item you bought at auction doesn't arrive as promised.

Dear Parry

My daughter is very good about letting me see what she is doing on the Internet; letting me read her e-mail or her instant messaging. I trust her, but recently we were talking about an incident with one of her friends whose parents had password-locked him off the Internet. He was trying to research some homework and couldn't access anything due to the lock. He called my daughter, and, with my help, she found what he needed and we printed it off and delivered it. In a later conversation with my daughter, I asked why her friend's parents didn't just check the history link on the computer to monitor where their son was going on the Internet. Her answer was that some kids know how to get around that or erase it. I was quite surprised.

So I guess my question is what to do when your children know the system better than you do. My daughter teaches me on the computer and my husband knows more than I do. I am trying to be as educated as possible, but my daughter has been learning computers since kindergarten and knows so much more than I do. She learns sooner and faster than I do. My daughter and I have a great and trusting relationship, but the computer is kept in a common room so as a parent I can just walk in at any time. My daughter has also called me into the room before to show me things that she has linked to by mistake, so that I will know about it. We also check websites together sometimes. So far she has my trust and she will keep it unless she does something to destroy it. I believe we have to have trust to teach trust.

Trying my best,
Midwest Mom

Dear Midwest Mom,


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