It is 11:00 PM. Do you know what your home network is doing?
Remember those TV spots some time ago that asked if you knew where your children were late at night? I don’t even remember what exactly was being advertised, but I do remember the little feeling of angst the ads would cause in people. It’s funny what a subtle reminder about accountability and the difficulty of parenting can do to your mood.
The more modern version of this question might be: when your kids get up from the dinner table and head off to their rooms, what are they doing? With today’s connected world and the ubiquitous nature of broadband, this can be a very complicated question.
These days, the issue is much more complex, given the fact that we are now raising children who have never known a non-connected world. I am continually amazed by the amount of multi-tasking one ‘young-adult’ type person can perform. If you have ever seen one of these kids talking on the cell phone while maintaining 8 or more instant message conversations, all the while surfing through cyber-space you know what I am talking about. Add to this the lure of on-line gaming ala Xbox Live and the massive multiplayer role-playing games and it’s a wonder anyone ever goes outside any more.
I had an interesting conversation with my kids (all in college) about the more recent Second Life online environment. Apparently, the whole point of Second Life is to get online and hang out in the simulated world, doing all of the things you would otherwise really be doing if you weren’t hanging out online and simulating it. You can buy a house, get a job, open a storefront or just go to the simulated nightclubs. You can even invent, manufacture and sell things, making money so you can buy other things etc. One of my kids raised the eerie concept that eventually you might be able to buy a computer in the Second Life universe, and then be able to play…Third Life. Creepy.
Here at Pure Networks, we are very interested in a concept we call “Family Networking”. This addresses the importance of the home networking environment and the importance of staying connected to the family (as defined by related people living under the same roof) and the extended family (as defined by the people you are related to, brothers, sisters, mom, dad etc that may live elsewhere).
If you are a parent, staying connected might mean staying on top of what the kids are doing on the internet, where they are going, when they are using it etc. If your kids are older, it might mean staying in touch somehow on a daily basis without being real intrusive. It might also mean keeping in touch with your parents, your brothers, sisters etc.
What I am interested in here is what you are interested in related to Family Networking. What is important to you in this context? How do you control, if at all, what your kids do on the Internet? Do kids these days have computers in their rooms? Gaming consoles? How do you hold them accountable for proper usage without being a censor? And when the heck do they ever do their homework??
If you could be connected to your extended family through your home network, what would you want to do? Share photos? Files?
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