Dan Snelson spends his days with cables and computers, monitors and mainframes. He's an IT specialist. He also put his knowledge to work when his kids wanted Facebook accounts.
"My goal is to protect kids online and I wanted a way to more easily monitor what they were doing on Facebook," he said.
Sure, he could spend hours logging into their accounts, screening their friends, their walls and hunting for anything inappropriate. But he wanted an easier way. So he lets Facebook do it for him.
"We happen to control their email addresses. And that's really where the magic happens," explained Snelson. He also says anyone - not just an IT professional - can do this.
The key is checking with your Internet provider to create sub-email accounts that can be controlled by parents. Some providers, like Gmail, do not allow parental controls. Some local providers allow you to have multiple email accounts, most of which we don't use.
Snelson says you can set these additional email accounts up for your children, enable all parental controls possible, and give them their new email address that they can use to sign up for social networking sites.
From that point, you can "white list" - or allow - any sender you want your child to receive emails from, and "black list" - or deny those you don't.
The Snelsons have blacklisted Facebook as a sender on their children’s accounts, "and they cannot receive emails from Facebook," Snelson said.
But Snelson and his wife do.
In his children's Facebook account settings, Snelson has enabled all notifications. That means Facebook sends an email detailing his children's every move on the site. But those emails go to Dan and his wife, since they have parental control over the accounts of their youngsters.
The couple knows what their boys do "on their walls, then what they do on other people's walls. Because kids are smart enough not to put bad things on their walls, but they forget and make comments on a rude photo their friends have taken - so that's what you want to know about."
Snelson is not alone. Many parents find a way to make sure their kids aren't doing something inappropriate on Facebook.
Karyn Stubbs-Tippenhauer says she checks in "not daily, but every now and then I'll do a spot check and see."
And while some might question this as an invasion of privacy, others think any safety precaution is a good one.
Rob Wasser says of his daughter, "She's 14 - what kind of privacy does she need?"
But Snelson knows some parents might not agree with his tactics. "Some of them are approving. Some think I'm over the edge a little bit. My sons think I'm highly protective. But my son who's an adult says he approves of what we did to try and help them."
Parent Greg Jowlias understands the dilemma. "How much tether you give them - how much you need, that's the art to being a parent."
Information from WCPO.com
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