You have to learn what potential problems there might be, and then, like a good, authoritative parent, you discuss those with your kids. You know there might be sexual predators out there. And you have to know: 'Well, does anyone say anything nasty to you? How do you handle that?'
Q: Compare the Internet and social networking to television.
A: Every waking minute of every day, they are interacting with some sort of technological medium, except perhaps when they're in school, and even then, kids are texting from their pockets. They're wearing iPods all day. It's just a different world for them. The impact of television on society took years and years and years. And we had a chance to adapt to it.
The kinds of tools these kids are using are vast. Nobody heard of MySpace five years ago. Nobody heard of an iPod five years ago. Nobody heard of instant messaging.
This is a rapidly changing technological world and the kids are the first ones to adapt technology.
Q: Are parents keeping up?
A: Parents have a total misconception about what their kids are doing online.
They don't know how much time they're spending. They don't have the breadth of what's happening to the kids online. They think the kids are being attacked by predators all the time. They are way over-concerned about the technology that the kids are using.
Everything is so different from year to year. No wonder the parents are afraid.
They don't have to know everything, but they've got to see what MySpace is about. They've got to understand this whole thing of kids text-messaging all day long. They have to understand what it means to have kids plugged into their iPod all day long.