Sunday, October 3, 2010
Stamp Collecting and Child Safety on the Internet
Sadly, I don't remember a week in the past couple of years when a news report hasn't discovered another child being victimized by an internet pervert. Part of the reason for this uptick in internet child-exploitation is due to parental neglect. Parents must supervise their children while on the internet. The Internet is not the new "boob tube" to babysit your kids while you play bridge or poker with the neighbors. KNS has always taken this subject seriously both in practice and philosophy. We have a strict zero tolerance contact with children. If the request is not made by an adult it is not honored---period. No exceptions. No excuses. Never.
From time to time we get some negative feedback from legal guardians, parents, uncles, grandmothers and the occasional teacher about this policy. But understand this, zero tolerance to us literally means zero tolerance. We are not trying to impress anyone, owe no advertisers any compromise and laugh at political correct nonsense. This whole venture of providing free stamp kits to parents to encourage them to get involved with their children's lives through stamp collecting is on Our Dime and Our Time. We don't charge anyone for anything. We don't sell anyone's name or address for anyone's silly mailing list. We don't even keep our own mailing list of the hundreds of parents making free stamp kit requests.
You would think in this day and age---parents could be grateful that someone out there gives a darn about protecting children and sincerely wanting them to grow up with a rich experience of history, science, geography, culture and the joy of delving into a hobby. Yet I still get rude emails from parents too "busy" to make the requests or stay involved with their children. Some have even asked us to mentor their children through the stamp hobby process. The whole point of this site folks is for YOU to learn how to interact with YOUR kids through a fun and exciting hobby that is provided to you and the child/children for FREE.
I'm sorry to say but this is why children become vulnerable to all sorts of negative stuff out there because their parents are too busy passing the buck to someone else, the school system, the church, other family members, malls, etc. As ususal some of my longer pieces on the blog sound strident and turn off a few people here or there, but too bad, I will always speak my mind, especially when I know I am right on target with this one. I already had a responsible parent email back that she started putting a tigher rein on her kid's internet usage and suddenly their grades started improving. It was her belief, like alot of parents, that unrestricted use of a computer, is a good and educational excercise, when in fact, it was and is often used for goofy communiques with pals or dark chats with weird dangerous people---neither productive exercises that improve grades.
The following is a recap of KNS child safety on he internet policy:
KIDS NEED STAMPS adheres to a strict policy of adult contact where it regards the communication and mailing of stamp-related materials. Our subtitle: “Helping Parents Help Kids Collect Stamps” is not a slogan but a serious philosophy aimed at encouraging authority figures to get involved in their children’s lives in a more meaningful manner than merely purchasing a video game and plugging their offspring in its side port.
“When we say strict we really mean strict. Last year I had to turn down nearly the entire Boy Scout troop because their parents simply made each child email the site rather than doing it themselves. They all got the “see your parents” reply. KNS got a few less-than-civil parental emails back. Everybody got their stamps….and a lesson."
Within that context KNS recognizes the Internet is an excellent tool to spread the good news about stamps as an education hobby while realizing it is also a dangerous weapon in the hands of disturbed individuals. KNS strongly advises all parents to supervise their children’s use of the Internet. Just recently it was reported that child-sex predators were using Facebook as a recruiting too. We need to stay vigilant.
“This is not a soapbox. I supervise my kids on the Internet. Please do the same.’
KNS as a matter of policy and in full agreement with the FBI’s Parent’s Guide to the Internet does not maintain contact with anyone under the age of 18 years of age. If a child makes contact with our site or email address, we quickly reply to educate the child of the need for their parents to make the appropriate stamp kit request. That is our only contact! Any further emails are ignored until an adult or legal guardian enters the equation. We direct you to the useful FBI guide in PDF for any other useful child safety tips.
“Our philosophy is simple: stay involved in your child’s world. Stamp collecting aided by 21st century technology is a greatly enhanced experience, yet still offers the same education, wonder and insights as 100 years ago. Share the joy of discovery with them. You’ll be a better parent for staying connected.”
We also support the CyberAngels unique program that spells out in a contract the responsibilities of children using the Internet. Children agree to the parental rules and sign an Internet Safety Contract.