I’ve been internetting since the early 90s. We had America Online (of course), and everything was so fresh and new that my screenname was RRW.
My initials. RRW!? Are you kidding me? Can you imagine me trying to register on any website with RRW? Any email address or vanity URL or log-in to any site? Three letter initials probably haven’t been available since… well, since I registered as RRW@aol.com.
I used AOL to check out the encyclopedia, chat with people online about cool, innocuous things like my favorite movies, and click every single button on AOL until I found something that held my attention.
I found this commercial online, and not only do I remember it from the 90s, it made me totally nostalgic.
“My personal favorite, Live Chat. That’s how I met my new kayaking buddies.”
I also don’t buy for a second that homeboy was able to do all of those things before the game. Waiting for a page to load was like ZZZzzz ZZZZZ for days. Sidenote: I think I would have been a much better student if I had access to wikipedia. KIDS THESE DAYS.
I remember that there wasn’t much implemented by way of parental controls back when I was trolling the internet as RRW. One time I was in a chat room (“A/S/L?!” <—- creepiest ever), and an IM popped up.
“This is the AOL Security Team. There has been a breach in your account. Type in your password within the next three minutes or we will have to close your account.”
I gasped. I clutched my candy necklace in terror. SURELY I MUST GIVE THEM MY PASSWORD. Thankfully, Lola was walking by the computer and saw my shocked-face. She advised me to NOT enter my password (Those warnings were everywhere. Warning: We’ll never ask for your password.) even though I was ready to type in R-R-W-1-2-3.
I know. I’m like a vault.
Truthfully, us AOL kids were susceptible to scams and predators pretending to be fellow junior high girls and God knows what else. A million years later, and I don’t think the internet is much better. Jack and I monitor what the girls do on the internet – right now it’s games on the iPad or learning websites. But before too long, they’re going to be old enough to want to surf the web and look up dinosaurs and email Lola. “Lola, can we come over and watch all the TV?”
So now as parents, we have the added concern of internet safety, which is definitely a real thing. (Chris Hansen, thanks for getting our backs, bro.)
I was introduced to CocoonKids for KlaasKids and I felt like it was a good fit to share with all y’all moms, dads, teachers, librarians, circus clowns, whatever’s clever. Cocoon creates a safe space for kids on the internet without making things complicated for the grown-ups in the house.
It’s a simple (and free) plug-in that works with Firefox or Chrome. Parents (or other responsible adults) can lock it in “kid mode” which ensures that kiddos ONLY browse a parent generated whitelist of appropriate websites. This action is braaand new, so we can actually help create this white list.
I think we’ve all seen way too many internet horror stories, so I’m really pleased to team up with a foundation that is committed to make the internet a safer place. Plus, this is SO EASY. You literally install a plug-in and then start approving websites. Boom.
Think you’ll start white-listing? What websites would you add? (I’m adding starfall.com and PBS kids, to start.)
And also, I must know. What was your AOL screenname?
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions and sweet 90s gear are my own.