We are getting cable later this month. With it we, actually I mostly, my wife isn't to happy with the idea, have decided that our 11 year old son will get access to the internet. He has been asking me for ages if he could play games with his friends via the internet. Up to now I've refused it on grounds of the cost. That "excuse" has now fallen way. Apparently there are quite a few the kids in his class that play very interactive games, with chat, even talking to each other via the talk function, whilst they play these games against each other, sort of "hey wipe out the tank on your left" etc. Now we all know that this, access to the web, opens more than just knowledge and clean fun for him. He is a great kid and we do trust him and him knowing that is very important to him so I don't want to put up "fences" ie. blocking certain sites.
How do you guys with kids that have access to the web handle this ???
The computer is in a place where it can not be private. I can walk by any time and see what my daughter is doing. I also have a list of the "rules" posted above the computer. She also signed a copy of the "rules" as a contract.
Thomas's approch does sound pretty cool. However if you do want to go with some kind of "nanny" software, which might make your wife happier, you might want to try explaining that you're not using it because you don't trust him, it's the other people out there that you don't trust. There are people out there who pray on the vunerabilites of kids and can get information out of them without them realising they're giving out information that could put them in danger. He sounds like a smart kid, I reckon if you sit him down and tell him you're considering using this software for these reasons and actually ask him how he would feel about it... he might go for it. It's better than just saying "you're using this and I'll have no arguments" ... actually showing that you are considering his feelings about this and are concerned about his safety might make him more open to the idea.
Pounding at a thick stone wall won't move it, sometimes, you need to step back to see the way around.
As a reformed online gamer, in my experience the only thing that I have found that parents may have a problem with in online games is the language of other players. Of course the other players using that language usually aren't much older than your son, so I'm sure it's nothing that they don't hear at school anyway. The online gaming community is fairly friendly and self-policing and often the older players will look out for the younger ones.