A lady came to my office this morning to inquire about Internet access. She said that she and her husband had just bought a computer at Wal-Mart. I cringed and gave her an overview of the various plans we offer -- dial-up, DSL, and wireless. She asked me what could be done to keep her teenaged daughter from "...going places we don't want her to go." I said that what her daughter chose to do or not do on the Internet would follow as a direct result of how well her daughter had been raised and what moral values she had developed.
"What do you mean by that?" she asked. I replied, "Your daughter will be guided on the Internet by the same moral values that guide her throughout her daily life." She shrugged and said, "Isn't there some way to just put contols on where she goes on the Internet?" "Yes," I said. "You tell her what is expected of her. If you employ software control upon her Internet use, she will be unduly restricted by the key-word restrictions used by software control. The Internet can be an incredible research tool and a great benefit to her for homework, but restricting her search results would be very counter-productive."
"So what are you saying?" she asked. I was amazed but longed for her $15 sign-up fee, so I continued. "You have had many years to impart to your daughter what is expected of her. If you have done this well and properly, you need fear nothing from her Internet usage. The basic operative principle here is respect." "She is a good girl and always does what I tell her," she replied, inappropriately sternly. "Just because you have her attention does not mean you have her respect," I said.
She shook her head so violently from side to side that I feared greatly that it would surely leave her body. Then, she departed.
The sun is shining. It is 68 degrees. All is well.