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Kids and caching


Hula Bum
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A recent issue has come about in our area where a 10 year old child has placed some caches in environmentally fragile areas. This brought the locals, myself included to contact the cacher (not realizing at the time how young he was). Now, he is upset and the mom is asking that all contact be made through her (for us locals that's fine, she doesn't seem to understand that more than just us are going to be out looking for these caches). That would be fine, except it is his account, and he has not been showing his mom the feedback he has been receiving. It appears that the family goes out and hikes with him, but when it comes to logging, write ups and all things having to do with the site he does those on his own.

 

My opinion is that 10 is too young to be on the web in a largely adult space ALONE. Several factors play here, of which include 10 years old is too young to handle the criticism and it's not safe.

 

So, what is your opinion? Is 10 too young to have your own account that the 10 year old runs and manages without supervision? If so, what age is old enough?

 

edit to note--PLEASE TAKE NOTE- I said that they manage without supervision, my question is not if it's ok for them to have an account.

Edited by Hula Bum
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I'm really not sure what age is old enough yet. I have a 12 year old who has her own account (as well as a 9 year old), they both own several caches, and they log caches they've found sometimes, but they certainly don't manage their cache notices and stuff.

 

Heck! My husband doesn't manage his own caches (unless I direct him in what to do). I do everything for the whole family. :P What was that about what age they can manage it at? I have anywhere from 9 to 33. Take your pick. :)

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Once again I am in agreement with Brainsnat. Heck there are dogs with their own accounts so a 10 yo can do it. But Mom and Dad should be looking over his shoulder. My kids don't get near the Internet without one of us keeping an eye on them and they are 12 and 14. The computer with Internet access is located in a corner of the family room where we can see it without being obtrusive.

 

I would suggest the reviewer start keeping a close eye on the kid's caches since the parents won't.

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I agree with Briansnat and Big Max. I have a 9 year old who uses my computer to get onto the net. I have instructed her to ask me at any point when she is going to be going to a site that is not linked from the sites that I approve. When she is logging caches I supervise. I trust my 16 year old. She is very, very responsible. At what age, each child is different, however, individuals are not responsible for their actions completely until they are 18, a bit younger in some states depending, etc. I think that anyone below 16 should have an adult sponsor and supervision.

 

Now that said, what can be done about it. There really isn't a way for gc to supervise this... For now I think it is something that must be given to the parents to supervise. They are, afterall, responsible for their children's actions.

 

mi 2 snc

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I trust my 16 year old. She is very, very responsible. At what age, each child is different, however, individuals are not responsible for their actions completely until they are 18, a bit younger in some states depending, etc. I think that anyone below 16 should have an adult sponsor and supervision.

 

Even at 16, my attitude is "trust but verify". There are some great programs out there that allow you to do that.

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I have a 9 yr old and I would not let her have her own account yet.

 

I think part of the responsibility of having an account comes with the fact that you should be able to manage it. I do not want to open an account for her and then have to do all the work for her account and ours.

 

It is the same reason she can not have a hampster.....I am NOT taking care of it. So as soon as she can handle a hampster by herself she can have one and the same goes for an account.

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Isn't there legislation in the States (COPPA) that requires parental permission to create accounts for children under 13?

 

That doesn't really answer the question, but at least it could foster awareness, both with the cache reviewers that this user might require a little extra hand-holding with cache placement, and with parents so they'll know what their children are up to.

 

It's too bad, because instead of turning this into some hostile us versus them thing, the parents have an excellent opportunity to foster some good bonding time by encouraging the child to sit down and think up logs or even caches together. I've taken some kids and teens out caching, and part of the fun is deciding how we're going to write up our adventures.

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So, what is your opinion? Is 10 too young to have your own account that the 10 year old runs and manages without supervision? If so, what age is old enough?

 

10 isn't too young to have an account, but IMO it's definitely too young to be doing things completely unsupervised. And I'm astonished that parents would let a kid that young place caches without any adult input, and also have no access to the site themselves.

 

Has anyone contacted the reviewer who approved the caches with the information that this cacher is underage, and needs extra supervision? And has anyone contacted the reviewer WRT the cache placement possibly being inappropriate?

 

As far as the mom saying all contact should be through her, somebody needs to explain to her that as long as her son is participating in an adult-oriented web site unsupervised, people are going to be contacting him directly regardless of her wishes. IOW, if she wants all contact to be through her, SHE needs to be reading what's posted on the site.

 

WRT what age is old enough - that depends on the individual kid. However, I suspect that the case of a 10-yo caching entirely alone is unusual; MOST young kids who cache are doing so with parents, and those who have their own accounts have parents who also have accounts.

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Well my son (11 now) has his own account, I help with logging the finds ect. I set his profile with MY EMAIL and listed that the account is for a MINOR CHILD and everything goes through me. I control the password and nothing is done without my input. All he does is type the logs and work the GPS in the field. If he places a cache it will be under my direct supervision. I don't have any problems with children having a profile as long as a responsible adult reviews the actions.

 

As for letting a child loose on the net - without any controls is a very dangerous thing. I personally would not give my kids their own control until they have proven themselves and then I would monitor their activity. Man if the mess that is on the net now was there when I was 15 - just a very scarry thought.

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Any child (read "a minor of any age") with an interest can have an account and be encouraged to participate. However, it is the responsibility of every parent to KNOW what their child(ren) does online on ANY site to the best of their ability just as it is their responsibility to teach them how to cache, hike, hunt, fish, cross the street, etc. properly. Just telling people to route contact through them is patently absurd.

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My 4 month old has had an account for about 4months now. He has logged his finds on his own, but I insist that not only do I supervise and assist him in doing so, but that I also translate his logs (he sometimes types with his feet... and well, one time with his head, but that was just an accident).

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I have a 9 yr old and I would not let her have her own account yet.

 

I think part of the responsibility of having an account comes with the fact that you should be able to manage it. I do not want to open an account for her and then have to do all the work for her account and ours.

 

It is the same reason she can not have a hampster.....I am NOT taking care of it. So as soon as she can handle a hampster by herself she can have one and the same goes for an account.

Get her the hamster. If it's not taken care of adequately, it becomes a trade item to leave in the next geocache. This has worked well for my daughter. Beginning at age 10, she has logged quite a few hamsters into ammo boxes. The really cute ones, she keeps for use in producing more signature items.

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I guess I should have clarified. I have no problem with him having his own acct. I think you can do that at any age, so long as an adult is with you. I would never let my child on an adult majority site without me sitting right there.

Yes, the reviewers have been made aware, and have been great at taking care of archiving the caches that needed to be.

The bigger issue now is how do you tell a parent that they need to be more mindful of what their child is doing and supervise them without sounding like you are accusing them of being neglectful. I was absolutely floored that the parents weren't involved, the thought had never occured to me.

Nothing was said that was mean, simply that the cache was causing damage and needed to be archived. They are in a state park and we are treading lightly to begin with.

We are working on putting together a cache placement class as there has been much interest from other newbies, so we are trying to do something to help. I'm hoping that the parents will take a more involved role now, but you never know.

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I have a 9 yr old and I would not let her have her own account yet.

 

I think part of the responsibility of having an account comes with the fact that you should be able to manage it. I do not want to open an account for her and then have to do all the work for her account and ours.

 

It is the same reason she can not have a hampster.....I am NOT taking care of it. So as soon as she can handle a hampster by herself she can have one and the same goes for an account.

Get her the hamster. If it's not taken care of adequately, it becomes a trade item to leave in the next geocache. This has worked well for my daughter. Beginning at age 10, she has logged quite a few hamsters into ammo boxes. The really cute ones, she keeps for use in producing more signature items.

 

Well I never thought of it that way.....extra swag..... <_<;)

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Well my son (11 now) has his own account, I help with logging the finds ect. I set his profile with MY EMAIL and listed that the account is for a MINOR CHILD and everything goes through me. I control the password and nothing is done without my input. All he does is type the logs and work the GPS in the field.

 

My son's account has always had my email address linked to it, but I think its a great idea to make it common knowlege on his profile so other cachers who might need to contact him will know its me answering. (contact to him from other cachers has always been about travel bug stuff).

 

Also when my son has wanted to place geocaches we have always done it jointly under my account, but included his handle in the cachers who placed the cache. H says he is going to take care of it I know who really is going to be the one do the maintenance on it. <_<

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My 4 month old has had an account for about 4months now. He has logged his finds on his own, but I insist that not only do I supervise and assist him in doing so, but that I also translate his logs (he sometimes types with his feet... and well, one time with his head, but that was just an accident).

<_<;):)

 

Good idea, guess I can make accts for my mini cachers after all (3.5 and 1.5) :D

 

No way would I let them online unsupervised and have unmonitored geocaching accts before they were 16. Even then, I couldn't imagine not going behind them and making sure everything was above board.

 

I usually use Firefox and have the IE homepage set to nickjr.com so Brodie can hop online and play his little Dora games, but I'm always right here with him.

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I guess I should have clarified. I have no problem with him having his own acct. I think you can do that at any age, so long as an adult is with you. I would never let my child on an adult majority site without me sitting right there.

Yes, the reviewers have been made aware, and have been great at taking care of archiving the caches that needed to be.

The bigger issue now is how do you tell a parent that they need to be more mindful of what their child is doing and supervise them without sounding like you are accusing them of being neglectful. I was absolutely floored that the parents weren't involved, the thought had never occured to me.

Nothing was said that was mean, simply that the cache was causing damage and needed to be archived. They are in a state park and we are treading lightly to begin with.

We are working on putting together a cache placement class as there has been much interest from other newbies, so we are trying to do something to help. I'm hoping that the parents will take a more involved role now, but you never know.

 

You're so right to tread carefully in contacting the parent. Surprisingly, the great majority of parents allow their children unrestricted internet access (either knowingly or unwittingly). At a recent AICPA conference my wife was stunned by the FBI presentation on how easy it is for criminals (no pun intended here...) to bypass safety controls on popular websites such as MySpace and access/contact children directly (Your local CPA firm is very concerned about internet business transaction safety...). I'm amazed at how many parents don't like outsiders to tell them anything that might be seen as negative feedback about their kids... <_<

 

Is it our responsibility to educate parents? Well, as a parent of 3 daughters I'd appreciate being filled in about my ignorance in a case like this. I'd say let the parent know (humbly/respectfully of course) their child is accessing a website open to the entire world (literally), and let them know the child has stepped outside boundaries all players are expected to stay within. If you're rebuffed, well - your conscience is clear; go to the next level and request the cache to be archived. If the individual continues to be a problem, request their site access to be cut off. Once the parent's informed you're now safeguarding the integrity of the game for the rest of us...

 

We have an excellent program run by a talented local cacher/teacher in an Anchorage Middle School which introduces students to geocaching. They're new life in the game, and need to be trained in game ethics and boundaries a bit more thoroughly than an adult (well - most adults) (and yes, the teacher is very thorough in his student training in both the classroom and afield). That said - they're great fun on the trail and at events, and they're placing a lot of nice new caches in good areas. Yes, we have had a few 'bumps' on the journey with younger cachers - but no more per capita than with 'older' cachers.

 

As a final (humorous) note, perhaps the young man is cruising this site to enjoy those lovely avatars some of us choose to use... ;)

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The bigger issue now is how do you tell a parent that they need to be more mindful of what their child is doing and supervise them without sounding like you are accusing them of being neglectful. I was absolutely floored that the parents weren't involved, the thought had never occured to me.

I can understand what you are asking--we have a young cacher in our area whose parents are not cachers and there have been times when I felt they would have been well served to know (and understand) what was happening with his account.

 

I think it's all a matter of how it's approached. You realize that you can't "tell" the parent to supervise their child (and what effect that would have!) --I can tell that from the way you worded your note above. But perhaps if you approach it as an ally to the parent and assure them that you understand their concern and want to help them brainstorm some ways to preview the information that strangers will send to their child so they can filter out undesireable emails?

 

Some ideas that occur to me:

 

Suggest to the parents that the emails should be sent to their email account before they go to his--so they can filter out anything they find objectionable before they forward it to him?

 

Or perhaps they could set up his email so that it is automatically is forwarded to their account as well--so they at least see everything that goes to him.

 

They could purchase one of the net nanny kinds of programs that lets them see everything that is read (or typed) on a computer. There are some that offer free trial periods. Some internet providers offer a free or low cost program just for parents to use with their children's accounts.

 

You could invite the parents to bring their young one to the next local get-together to meet other locals. Sometimes groups offer mini-"how-to" lessons at events that would inform the parents and the child. If they don't want to become involved in caching, they might want to develop a relationship with someone in the local caching community that will act as a remote mentor to the child cacher and keep them informed if there is a concern. The local cacher can advise the parents how to handle the situation, then they can step in to help their child deal with it.

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You could invite the parents to bring their young one to the next local get-together to meet other locals.

 

You know, I'd almost be tempted to use this as a "lure" to bring the parents into a knowledge of geocaching and what their child is doing with his account (and who he is communicating with).

 

Set up a big event (like Go and Get Em 9, in our area, which is promising to draw 150 geocachers out tomorrow evening). Everyone will want to be there, including said 10-year-old boy. Unless his parents are truly negligent, they will start asking questions when the boy asks for a ride to the local downtown Joe's Pizza. And, like you said, make it non-threatening and friendly so the parents will be encouraged to come and see what it's all about rather than pull back.

 

Has anyone else looked to see if COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act) applies to Geocaching.com? I'm outside its jurisdiction (in Canada) but I think it's a good idea.

 

... By the way, in reference to the original post, it is an impressive 10-year-old indeed who can write up several cache listings without other cachers realizing it was written by a child. On the other hand, perhaps this doesn't say much about the state of some other people's writing skills... <_<

Edited by GreyingJay
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If they can read, write, place a cache, operate a GPS they are old enough however old that is. That means they will get logs, feedback and emails.

 

If mom has an issue with this she won't let him have an account. If mom want's them to have an account then mom should control the password and use her email to monitor contacts. Then pass them on to her child.

 

This isn't rocket science, it just takes a little work.

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Isn't there legislation in the States (COPPA) that requires parental permission to create accounts for children under 13?...

 

My impression is that COPPA applies if you hold your site out as one that accepts child accounts and the responibilities that come with that. Groundspeak doesn't. This site is for adults. It doesn't specificaly bar children, but it makes no promisses. I'm not sure much beyond that. The topic came up once on what it would take to make a kid friendly forum on this site.

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I think its fine for a 10 year old to have his own accont here. Is great that he (or she) has a interest in this sport and the outdoors. Letting him use it unsupervised however is beyond foolish.

 

This says it all. Any parent that doesn't monitor a kid's internet usage in today's society is just foolish. I am a teacher, and I have seen it all. You wouldn't believe what students (even the 14 year olds) post on MySpace. I don't want to even write it down.

 

If you are a parent, the only way is to keep your child safe is to know their passwords and check on what they are doing. Don't lie to them. Tell them that you are going to do it. If they change their password, revoke their internet privledges. That way they know not to do anything dumb. The goal, afterall, is not to catch them doing bad things, but to prevent them from doing bad things. To do so, we must be active parents. Even then, the internet is a scary place.

 

Oh. I am a parent too. When my daughter wants to use the internet (she's too little now) then I will absolutely practice what I preach.

 

//stepping off of soapbox now.

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How does a 10 year old place a cache without the parents help? I'm sure mom drove him to the park, and I know if I had a kid, I wouldn't let him wander the trails by himself at 10 years old. And if he wanted to walk off the trails? Heck i'd be glued to his side. So mom had a part in it. If the cache was badly placed, the parent should have decided right there and then that it should be moved. Now if the parent isn't a geocacher, or at least have a good idea what the sport is about, then they need to get more involved in the kids life. And if a parent wasn't there when the cache was placed, where were they, in the car? If that is the case, then the parent needs to be supervised, so they can supervise their kid. Or do i mean stupidvised?

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How does a 10 year old place a cache without the parents help? I'm sure mom drove him to the park, and I know if I had a kid, I wouldn't let him wander the trails by himself at 10 years old. And if he wanted to walk off the trails? Heck i'd be glued to his side. So mom had a part in it. If the cache was badly placed, the parent should have decided right there and then that it should be moved. Now if the parent isn't a geocacher, or at least have a good idea what the sport is about, then they need to get more involved in the kids life. And if a parent wasn't there when the cache was placed, where were they, in the car? If that is the case, then the parent needs to be supervised, so they can supervise their kid. Or do i mean stupidvised?

 

The kid might have had access to the park by himself, for example by biking. When I was that age I remember spending much of my summer time "exploring". I biked everywhere -- mostly to the local library, but I often went to little neighborhood parks as well. I even admit to playing in the dumpster behind my elementary school <_<

 

Anyway, society seemed very different at that time, and nobody saw anything wrong with us kids wandering and playing on our own. My younger brother and sister got the overprotective treatment. Even into his late teens, my mother fretted whenever my brother biked anywhere farther than the local corner store.

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Both my 10-year-old and 8-year-old have had Geocaching.com accounts for over 5 years. Neither of them knows the password for their accounts, though. Heck, neither of them knows the password to connect to the Internet from home.

 

As a teacher, I can tell you, there are a lot of little kids out there with free reign to do whatever they want with little or no supervision. The term for this is "neglect."

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The kid might have had access to the park by himself, for example by biking.

 

A friend of mine has allowed his 14-yo to place a cache. She has her own GC account, entirely handled publishing it, answering questions from the reviewer, etc, and maintains it on her own. It's in a park a few blocks from her house, and she either walks or bikes there. However, she asked his advice/permission first, and I believe he keeps the cache on his watchlist, so he basically gets cc'd on all the logs.

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I believe that 13 is a good age to step back and let your child be responsible, with restrictions. I have been managing my E-mail, my own accounts in various websites, etc. since I was 13. It all depends on your child and how much you trust them and or how responsible they are. I'm 15 and don't have my parents looking over my shoulder right now reading every word I post in the forums. Step back and give your child a little bit of freedom. Of course your going to think that the only reason I have this perspective on the subject is because I too am a child :anicute: , and that may be, but I think that a 13 year old (maybe younger) can handle logging their finds and managing their account with minimal supervision. But it is always the parents choice on how they are going to parent their own child, this is just my own opinion.

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My daughter placed her first cache at 11-years old. I helped her set it up and place it then put her cache on my watch list so I would be able to keep close tabs on it. I wasn't too worried about any comments she may have received but was more concerned that if an issue arose there would be somebody responsible enough to go out and fix it. There was no way she could have run out in the car or hiked from home to go fix an issue with the cache. As it turned out it was a good thing I had her cache on my watch list since it was stolen not long after it was placed. Since I had a watch on it I was able to imeediately go out and investigate and then quickly archive the cache so as not to impose any hardships on other cachers.

 

I definately think it is a good thing to let the youngsters hide and manage a cache themselves but they surely need guidance and support from their parents. Getting bad reviews or bitching about the cache is part of the game (and life) that they some day have to reckon with. They just are not able to deal with correcting issues without parental support.

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At what age a child should have his/her own account is not really age-dependant. Some kids can handle it at 9, some not until 16. Our daughter is almost 11 and doesn't want to be bothered with typing logs for the caches we find (although it would be good keyboarding practice). I told her that she would not have her own account until she is willing to manage it herself...I'm not typing 3-4 different log entries for all the members of this house. Now, she is happy being part of our family's account.

 

The girls help us place all of our caches, but we do it together, as a family. Some of the times the hiding locations that our oldest picks are inappropriate (fragile environment, etc). So, we explain why we should not place it there, and find a better one. The girls always help with cache maintenance visits...I feel that it shows them responsibility (plus they like digging thru the loot and making trades). If kids are placing caches, it should be with parental supervision/guidance.

 

If my daughter had her own account and her caches, I would probably screen the cache visit logs and emails thru her account before I would let her read them. I've never had any problem with anything that the local cachers have posted, but I guess I'm just an over-protective mom. No, I would not shield her from complaints (that's part of life), but I guess I would just want to make sure it was appropriate for her to read. She is not allowed to use the internet without supervision (no, we don't hover, but we are in the same room, and look over her shoulder periodically), and this would be no different.

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