Joanie Farley Gillispie and Jayne Gackenbach have put together a comprehensive guide to the issues facing parents and guardians in relation to children online. With the huge upsurge in social networking sites like Bebo, Facebook and Myspace, as well as mass use of MSN Messenger among youngsters, parents and educators need to arm themselves with a knowledge about the technology that surrounds them.
Parents can no longer excuse their lack of knowledge about computers or a technophobia towards the internet. It is no longer a luxury skill – for youngsters it is part of everyday life, as much as putting bread into a toaster or switching on the TV. Without the understanding of what it’s all about, how can you begin to know what your children get up to online and what dangers they face?
Cyber Rules takes a practical and comprehensive look at how the internet is changing us. As clinicians, parents and educators all grapple with the same cyber issues, the authors look at specific problems encountered online and the ways that internet communication affects identity. Chat lines, discussion boards and role-playing games (such as Second Life) present opportunities for children to create other personalities online. The chapter Hooking Up: Cyber Sex and Youth is particularly insightful for parents concerned about what their children are doing online. It encourages effective dialogue between parents and children about sexuality both online and offline.
This book aims to aid both the internet-wary and experienced by sharing people’s stories, discussing the options of experts and giving the criteria to measure and determine if cyber behaviours could threaten healthy development.
Joanie Farley Gillispie is a clinical psychologist in California. Jayne Gackenbach teaches psychology.