So here I go again.
Facebook has undoubtedly taken over my online life. I've connected with a lot of people over the past year and some months. I love and hate it at the same time. Love it because its easy to find people and catch up; Hate it because its a HUGE time waster. The "e-World" is going to be an interesting place once my girls are old enough to be using the Internet on a regular basis; Which is getting to be sooner than later.
Since the birth of Webkinz in our home, Computer time and Internet time is in high demand. Thankfully as a parent I can use this as a reward. We've decided that they can earn their computer and gaming time through chores. If they finish their chores throughout the week they get an hour of computer time on the weekends. If they do extra chores they can earn 10-20 more minutes depending on the extra thing they do. They can use their time all at once or they can spread it across the weekend. But they can't carry it over to the next week, unless something else comes up for that particular weekend; Like going out of town, or being away from the house.
Fortunately with Webkinz, I don't have to worry as much about the random stranger chatting with my girls. They lock it down pretty good so that in the chat rooms you can only say things from a select number of phrases and responses. I know that as they start creeping towards their teenage years, they're going to want to be involved in some sort of Social Networking Site.. (I'm going to assume in 3 years Facebook is going to be considered something that old people use - and the kids are going to have somewhere else to go.)
Obviously I can't shield my kids from the Internet entirely. Its going to be a part of their lives whether I like it or not. We continue to push the importance of safety - and that the same rules apply online as they do in real life. Fortunately for us, our school also teaches Internet safety in their computer class.