Friday, July 31, 2009

How to be a permanent POS

I was a phone hog as a teenager.

I spent hours on the phone planning where we were going and what we were going to do, but mostly just idly chattering.

But idle chatter or not, the thought of someone listening in would have made me shudder. I always kept my voice low so that my incessant yattering would be inaudible to prying ears. When my parents got call waiting (mostly due to their frustration with the inability to receive their own calls), I became a master of the phone juggle.

My son reminds me of a lot of myself, especially when he is simultaneously MSNing to at least 2 dozen friends while listening to his IPod and playing a video game to which he flips back when I pass by.

"POS" is what the kids type in to tip off other IM friends that there is a "parent over shoulder" and they should watch what they zing back and forth. The few times Jordan has let me sit in on a session, I was quite shocked.

Yes, I am sometimes shocked by the crassness of what is said in the anonymity of the Internet, but I am also shocked by the spelling or lack thereof. How are any members of this instant message generation ever going to learn how to spell correctly? And do they actually know who all these people really are? Am I just sounding old?

I hope I am just sounding like a concerned parent.

A few weeks back I was introduced to a program that allows you to be a permanent "POS".
OnlineFamily.Norton monitors where you kids are going on the computer and, depending on the parameters set, will notify you with an email.

Like most parents, I am concerned and sometimes worried about what my kids are doing on the net. With Norton you can set the amount of time they spend on line each week, who they talk to, and what information they're sharing with others.

Norton, and I, don't recommend that you set these parameters in a sneaky fashion but rather talk about it before downloading the free copy.

I certainly believe that open dialogue is key and that setting house rules as a family unit is paramount. Never once over the last two months that we have been operating with the system did my kids seem to mind.

Better yet, seeing what they Googled and the sites they visited gave me insight into some of the things that they were interested in.

For instance, I had no idea my daughter loved Chow Chows so much.

Who knew?

Download your free copy of OnlineFamily.Norton and see what you find out!