Despite only being 7 years old, Sue Samad's little girl had a serious confession to make. After her iPad time was over and she was tucked into bed, the child came downstairs crying that she needed to tell the truth: she broke the house rules and had been chatting with gaming people online.
The little girl knew that she broke the family's "no chat" policy and begged her mom to punish her because she deserved to be grounded for her actions. Instead, her mom came up with an even better way to ensure that her child learned the magnitude of her mistake.
"It got me thinking, OK . . . I ground her, confiscate the iPad, but really no lesson is learned," she wrote on Facebook. "My absolute manic mind came up with this faux letter with letter head and all. I put it in our mailbox this afternoon addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Taher. The letter is just reminder, deterrence, and will possibly freak the crap out of her for a few years (I hope)."
The fake letter was signed from Security Intelligence for Children Cyber Safety and informed Sue that her child had breached the cyber internet safety contract for kids. It explained that her daughter's WiFi had been disconnected and can only be reinstated when the child proves to her parents that she is "responsible and understands the immediate dangers she has put herself an her sibling in."
According to Sue, the response she got when she showed her children the letter was exactly what she was hoping for and it was a tool to help them discuss the importance of online safety. "The letter doesn't replace continuous education about cyber danger, stranger danger, and keeping the open dialogue and honesty with your children," she wrote. "If they make a mistake, pull them up, watch what they are doing, let them make mistakes with you and be OK to discuss those awkward subjects that make your stomach squirm."
Sue explained that she doesn't believe in denying her children access to the internet since it's such a big part of this generation's daily life, but she does hope parents learn from both her daughter's mistake and her reaction to it. "A reminder to all of us to watch what our children do online, be the helicopter parent, observe their behavior, be open with discussion even if it's so uncomfortable and beyond their years of understanding," she wrote. "My hope is to raise resilient and socially-conscious children who God willing will grow up sensible children. And to add some humor to this very disturbing topic . . . it'll be a great piece to present at her 18th birthday."