What's a Parent to Do?
In addressing a worried nation on the eve of his first term in office, President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itselfnameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."
His advice couldn't be more relevant. Fear does paralyze. Parental fears shut down communication and make teens want to be as far away from their parents as they can possibly get. It has never been more important for that not to happen.
Trust between parent and child is needed more now simply because of the enormous number of options kids have online, with no mitigating factor or fallback but their parents. The bottom line: Because there are so many "places" they can go online that we don't know about, the best way to know about where they're goingthe one that fosters trust and cooperationis if they tell us about them.
This chapter has hopefully provided you a hype-free consideration of the research on online child exploitation; a clear-eyed view of all the risks associated with young people's use of the Web past and present; and what's newly risky on Web 2.0.
In the next chapter, we'll give you the "toolkit"some tips, tools, and our best sense of how to parent young explorers of the social Web.