I don’t even know what to say about this poor mom. But I suggest she get herself a computer and learn how to use google and Youtube.

You have, no doubt, heard about the latest YouTube sensation of poor little kerligirl, aka Jessi Slaughter aka Jessica Leonhardt. The last one is her real name. Her videos are completely sad and bizarre. But it goes along with what I’ve been wanting to impart onto parents for, like, ever.

A little bit of history: I’ve been online for almost fifteen years, I’m embarrassed to say. I found this world after a kind of painful breakup and I never came out of it. I live a regular life, too. But in the first few years, I didn’t. I was completely submerged in the online community, the global world of cybergeeks, as they were known then. This is even before there was a World Wide Web. If there is one thing I know it’s internet culture. And I can tell you, without question, that the best and the worst of human nature is exhibited here. As great and supportive as people can be, as kind and flattering as they often are, there are mean people out there. There are REALLY REALLY mean people whose shadow lives are lived out online. Because they can’t call their boss a “fat bitch” out loud they use that hate and put it all online.

There are some people to genuinely fear.

Here’s the thing, parents. WAKE UP. Your kids cannot be online without your being educated on what the internet is all about so that you can monitor what they are doing. That means, get yourself a Facebook account stat. Start looking at the kinds of things tweens are putting on YouTube. And know this. If you let your child, up to age 14, put stuff on YouTube? They are either going to be cyberbullied or stalked by pedophiles. That is just the fact of the matter. I shudder to think what this 11 year-old girl, Jessica Leonhardt has been saying to grown men who are trying to sleep with her. And you can bet that they are.

You ever wonder how it is those sleazoid dudes make dates with sad tweens? Here it is, playing out.

Here are some guidelines for parents who know nothing about the internet. To Jessica’s parent, there is only one way out of this mess: the computer is gone. Your daughter has now revoked her right to use the computer and she will not be left alone anyway. The computer is GONE. No email, no chatting, no YouTube. Nothing. Gone, gone, gone or pay the price later. Your daughter is in deep, deep trouble. However, when a year passes and it’s time to give her back some rights, this is the way to go about it.

1) Your child must be monitored. You can’t pop your head in their room and ask them what they’re doing because they will lie to you. Jessica’s mother was fooled by the dumb girl’s lies that she was just “video chatting with friends.” Tweens DO video chat. But you must know whom they are video chatting with.

2) That means, you put the fricking computer in the living room if you can’t trust your dumb girl tween.

3) Video chatting is a loud and obnoxious practice. But train yourself to know the friends your child chats with. You will know when it’s someone they don’t know.

4) Give them as much freedom as your trust allows. They violate that trust, their freedom is limited. Go all the way, parents. Don’t be afraid. They lose nothing by being banned from the computer. If they do something they’re not allowed to do, the computer is gone.

5) The only places your tween should be allowed online is: Facebook (if you are one of their friends — but make yourself a fake identity and friend them as well, because they will block you from seeing or reading certain things….and again, if you fully trust your child this isn’t necessary. But spy on them and stalk them until you can be sure they are learning proper boundaries and not “friending” any older men — remember, the more educated YOU ARE about the internet, the more protective you can be), google chat or video chat, provided you know whom they’re chatting with. And research sites for school. Make sure your browsers are set to the safest possible setting. Check your child’s computer often to make sure they maintain this setting.

Unfortunately, you have to accept that times have changed. Our kids don’t hang out on the street corner anymore. They used to do all sorts of boundary-pushing things there. They learned about sex, drugs and rock n’ roll back in my day and we all had to develop our own lines of defense. Some of us did not make it out. Some of us did The internet is now the place where kids “hang out.” Nothing has changed about kid behavior except that there is GLOBAL ACCESS to your child at all times. Anyone who wants to get to them can get to them. You must be honest with them about this. They have to know it’s coming. They have to know about bullies and perverts. They have to know that GLOBAL ACCESS means anyone can say anything anytime with no recourse whatsoever.

Other things to know:

Pedophiles know, by now, how to hide their identity via something like an website that gives you an anonymous IP address. That means they can’t be traced. Most people who want to leave mean comments (and I get them all the time) will do so using an anonymous IP. If they really do try to “hook up” with your daughter the FBI can get involved. But no one is going to care about mean comments. If you can trace their IP or their service provider (Google might do something if there is true abuse involved) you can send them a letter alerting them to this and they will warn the user or remove their account entirely.

Youtube might strip the account and the comments but for the part, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CHILD’S BEHAVIOR ONLINE. If you give them access, you have to watch them like a hawk.

Good luck.