I Watch My Kids on the Web Too

Even parenting decisions become political when the First Family is involved. There’s a story out today on the Obama girl’s internet use...a topic, given my profession, we discuss often in this house.

Mrs. Obama tells CNN en Espanol (ehs-puhn-YOHL’) that she and President Barack Obama limit the use of computers for their daughters, Sasha and Malia, and ask the girls a lot of questions when they’re on line.

“We ask a lot of questions about what our kids are doing while they are on the computer,” she explained.

Mrs. Obama said she and the president talk with their daughters about the dangers of Facebook, and “that sort of gossip mill.”

The first lady says that more schools are helpful in educating parents as well as children on the pros, cons and dangers of the Internet.

Mrs. Obama tells that when she was growing up, the Internet didn’t exist. She called her friends on the phone.

Sounds like some of my girlfriends. Sounds like my own mother. Sounds a lot like many of the conversations I have with the parents of my son and daughter’s friends.

But instead of having a typical conversation about parenting and family and politics, I found myself discussing the issue on Twitter with conservatives calling into question the First Lady’s “fear” of the internet. Words like “unhealthy” and “silly” were used.

I shook my head at the lack of sense this was making. Are conservatives seriously calling into question parenting skills that embrace personal responsibility and age appropriate use of the web? Are you kidding me?

Then I realized, with the help of my husband, it doesn’t matter what this First Family does. It could fall directly in line with how a conservative family would raise their family… it would still be wrong.

A new study out shows those most vocal against the President and this administration seep their anger in class and race.

A new CBS News/New York Times poll found the Tea Party movement is 89 percent white and just one percent black.

It also looked at the views of Tea Party supporters on race issues. Asked if too much has been made of the problems facing African-Americans, 52 percent said yes.

That compares to 28 percent of Americans overall who say too much has been made of the problems facing blacks, and 23 percent of non-Tea Party whites who say as much.

Now ask yourself again, why would conservatives have an issue with parents monitoring and regulating their children’s internet use? Easy…because it’s something the Obama’s do, which to them must automatically be bad.

Sad. Simple-minded. And dead wrong.


  1. Yes.
    The irony is that Obama was the most conservative of the Dem front runners in the primary. So I have to wonder how much of this is about race. This knee jerk “it must be wrong if the Obamas do it” reaction is frightening. The debate should be about policy not politics. And certainly not about race.
    .-= Lawyer Mama´s last blog ..Team WhyMommy’s Virtual Science Fair =-.

  2. It’s all just insane. I’m disappointed that the American people react with such hatred for no reason other than being afraid of what they don’t know.

  3. I’m currently reading Faulkner’s racial POV from the early-thirties as my pre-bedtime fodder and I gotta say, it’s nearly impossible for me to fathom there exists a soul in this post-slavery era (at least, for our nation, not, sadly, for lots of other countries, where slavery still exists in full-technicolor fashion) who can state, in all honesty, that “too much has been made” of the problems facing African-Americans.

    Dude. People in this country used to believe that black people weren’t even PEOPLE. They were some sub-human race.

    YES. It’s a problem. One that can’t be covered up, or ignored, or laughed at, or sneered over. It still exists, and it isn’t gonna go away if we just ignore it.

  4. I have a 16, 13, 9 and 7 yr old online and the only “monitoring” I do is the fact that they use the computer in my office, while I’m working (from home) I think when kids know the facts and have information, they can be responsible for their own decisions. Whenever my kids “aren’t sure” about something, they ask. My 6 yr old has declined friend requests because the person was a stranger. She’s learned how to block people and doesn’t share her private info. Remember when it used to “take a village?” Whenever my 16 yr old posts something questionable, she has every aunt and uncle & grandparent sending her private messages about it. What an awesome village. Technology is awesome, nothing to be feared.
    .-= kathy´s last blog ..“Letting Kids Decide” =-.

  5. I don’t let my kids to any of the social networking components of sites. Not yet. And when they do, they will be heavily monitored. But that’s just how I am and how I parent.

  6. I am flummoxed by the state of political discourse in this country in the 21st century. The health care plan that was finally passed was pretty close to ones proposed by the GOP in past years, yet the meme that it’s some “government takeover of health care” has been repeated so many times, it’s taken as truth. When I look at the signage and hear the statements of the Tea Party people, screaming that the country and the Constitution have somehow been violated, it’s hard to take them seriously – yet, the media have elevated these crackpots into a force to be reckoned with. I want to ignore them (because so much of it is idiocy) – but then they dominate the conversation and their rants become accepted as fact.

    That ANYONE would take issue with such commonsense statements as “We monitor our children’s Internet use” is just another example of how crazy-making this all is.
    .-= Donna´s last blog ..The Streamys! =-.

  7. The Tea Party movement exists as a reaction more than it represents any set of values or ideas. So I’m not surprised that they respond negatively to everything the President does. (Maybe someone should also explain to them what the Boston Tea Party was actually about?)

    One surprising fact from that CBS/Times survey is that only 40% oppose gay marriage. That’s still 10% more than the rest of the country, but does that mean 60% of Tea Party-ers either approve or don’t take issue with same-sex marriage?
    .-= Kevin´s last blog ..My New Favorite Show: Parenthood =-.

  8. The problem with the conservatives is they are so consumed with themselves. They have to have the tax breaks. Health Care Reform might hurt them some way. Do you really think they have time to supervise their children on the internet ?? The internet is evil, Al Gore inventered it. I live in a very conservative area, these people have no idea what their children are up to. But I’m sure they know everything about themselves. I think the Obama’s should be praised for being PARENTS, not just the people that had the kids while someone else raises them.

  9. I have no idea how I found your site. You are awesome.

  10. I think your husband’s right, it’s not what they are doing, it’s that the first family is doing it. My kids are 7 and 9 and I don’t allow them to use private email, chat, or social networking. (Except chat that is part of a game, and they are to tell me right away if anything weird happens.) The biggest problem we’ve had is their fondness for obscure Youtube videos, which can jump directly from “cute cat movie” to something gross and completely inappropriate. I might start an email account soon for my eldest, but one that I have the password to and can monitor.

    I started using BBS’s (remember those? pre-internet) when I was 13 and I know exactly how gross the online world can be for 13 year old girls. (I mostly found the come-ons hilarious but not all girls would.) I recommend paying close attention.
    .-= Tacomamama´s last blog ..Community Gardens Kickoff =-.

  11. They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t… *sigh*

    Remember when people respected their president and the first lady and civility was NOT optional? The Tea Party folks are ignorance personified.

    Great post, Erin.
    .-= IzzyMom´s last blog ..If You’re Going to BlogHer, You Should Read This =-.

  12. My sons are only 2 & 4, but we’re planning to monitor their internet usage as well. It scares me to think of what’s out there waiting. We drove past a tea bagger protest yesterday and it was very clear how misguided they were. Several men and women looked at my family in our car (I’m white and my husband and sons are multi-racial) and smiled and waved their signs like a bunch of idiots. Needless to say they were all white. It makes me cringe to think a single one of them assumed I would relate to their cause just because I’m white. My 4-year-old exclaimed from the backseat that they were cheering for us. I like his version better.
    .-= angelynn´s last blog ..Inside =-.

  13. Since my daughter is only two, I don’t have to worry about this quite yet. However, I plan to monitor what she’s doing online, on TV, at the mall, at the movies and so on. It’s important to be involved and to let your kids know that you are watching out for them.
    .-= Renee´s last blog ..Sounds and Smells of a Spring Sunday =-.

  14. There’s a name for people who don’t think that parents should monitor their kids online. They’re called “pedophiles.”
    .-= Glennia´s last blog ..My Mother’s Garden =-.

  15. I’m sorry… I just can’t ignore these responses. I don’t have a single conservative friend that thinks it’s a good idea to let their children free on the Internet. If anything, they’re the ones that more heavily restrict their kid’s access to it. Erin, I’d love to see the twitter responses you got that you conveniently didn’t quote nor link to.

    One. More. Time.

    Because apparently you guys don’t get it. No one on *my* side cares that Obama is black. It’s the left that cares. Granted, they care because they think it’s a good thing, but still, you guys CARE about the COLOR of his skin. We tea party people-we don’t. We care about his policies. What he’s doing to our future. To our children’s future.

    We don’t think W. is a god. We liked some stuff he did, we didn’t like other stuff. Just like the current President. In fact, one of the things we like is that he seems to be a loving father to his children. So it bewilders me that conservatives were knocking the way in which the Obama’s are choosing to raise their children. After all, we’re the the ones that want parents to have more choices, like where our kids can go to school and whether or not we may spank them when they’re naughty. We may not agree with other people’s parenting decisions, but it’s their decision to make as parents.

    I think everyone that thinks conservatism is about racism should watch this-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1CLPhz0DHM

    Now I’m tossing my hands in the air and almost not posting this because it will probably fall on deaf ears. Just please open your minds and consider for a moment what an actual movement says, not what someone says about it. Ignore the news (yes, even Fox News) and LISTEN to some of these people. You may not agree, but at least you might be able to appreciate someone else’s passion to fight for something that they believe in.

  16. I had the conversation in the public stream with Patrick Ruffini. I didn’t link to it because I didn’t want to name drop but you can find it with a search of @queenofspain @patrickruffini

  17. No one can do ANYTHING right anymore. 😉
    .-= Aimee Greeblemonkey´s last blog ..More Photo Love =-.

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