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Internet Safety

My line of work involves being always online that’s why my kids which are all under 10 wants to do the same, their favorite activity is using their gadgets and going online too. Nowadays kids have tablets, laptops, video game consoles, e-readers and other cool toys that have internet access. We can’t deny our kids the opportunity to learn and use these latest technologies but as a parent I know that it is important to take charge and monitor my kids online activity, that’s why we laid down some rules which I shared on my online safety tips post. If you want to learn more on how you can let your children enjoy technology but at the same time keep them safe, check out these informative internet safety tips below.

internet safety

How Technology Can Coexist With Kids in a Healthy Way

When parents come to me with questions about how to monitor their kid’s technology, it’s almost always after they’ve discovered something – a questionable photo on Instagram, a conversation with a stranger, usage when they should have been doing their homework. No matter how conscious and proactive parents are about setting limits in other areas, often they don’t create boundaries around technology until a boundary has already been crossed. And no wonder: Many say they simply don’t know where to begin. If they ban chatting on one device, they think, their kids will find a way to do it on another. Others parents say they didn’t realize how much time their kids actually spent staring at screens.

Believe it or not, according to recent studies, kids ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day on various devices, often while multitasking. But while too much technology use is associated with lower grades and shortened attention spans, it also creates wonderful opportunities for parents and kids alike that none of us would want to give up. So here are a few ways to start thinking about how technology can coexist with kids in a healthy way.

Establish your policy up front. Earlier this year, when a mom named Jannel Burley Hoffman gave her 13-year-old son his first iPhone, it came not just with a data plan, but with a contract. Among the points: She would have his password; if she or her husband called, her son was always to pick up; there would be no porn viewing or sending or receiving inappropriate photos; he would have access to his phone during certain hours only; if he accidentally lost or broke his phone, he would be responsible for its replacement cost. Clarifying rules early on is a win-win for everyone. Kids learn that with freedom comes responsibility, and parents can feel reassured that while kids will make mistakes, they don’t have to come up with a consequence (often an overreaction) on the fly. It’s all in the contract.

Make manners matter. Because we parents were born before Facebook existed, we learned our manners offline. If we did something rude, we apologized, and our bad judgment didn’t live in cyberspace for eternity. For this reason, kids need to know that if they wouldn’t say something offline to a person’s face, they shouldn’t text, post or e-mail that comment, either.  Likewise, if they wouldn’t cut off a person sitting across the table from them mid-sentence, they shouldn’t start texting somebody else when that real live person they’re hanging out with is mid-sentence. It may seem obvious to us, but many kids need a reminder that while technology is cool, human beings – with feelings – are the ones who are using it.

Don’t give in to peer pressure…from your kids! Even if you set limits, inevitably your child will try to get you to change your mind with, “But everyone else my age has [fill in the blank]!” If you feel your kid isn’t ready for something – a Facebook account, an iPhone – listen to your gut. Yes, they may be using it from the safety of their bedroom or backpack, but once they’re online, they’re, in essence, able to interact with the entire world. Some kids are inherently less impulsive than others; some self-regulate at earlier ages than others. Your kids will internalize the limits you set, so that by gradually increasing their freedom, you’re giving them the opportunity to show you that they can handle the next level of responsibility. Just as you wouldn’t give your teenager the keys to the car if you didn’t think she could go to a party and not drink before driving, you wouldn’t give her access to a type of technology you didn’t feel confident she could be safe with. Letting your kids show you they’re ready gives you peace of mind, and them the confidence of having earned your trust through their actions.

Be in this together. Because technology is ever-changing, and so are our kids, it’s important for them to feel that while you set the rules, communication is always open. If you notice a distinct change in your child’s behavior and friendships, and you check to see if cyber-bullying is occurring, you’re being a helpful parent, not an intrusive spy. If you set a rule but it’s not in line with what the technology actually does, listen to your child’s explanation, research it, and if you need to adjust the rule, then do so. If you find your child searching for something above his age level on the Internet and you want to give him more accurate information, start a conversation about it. Yes, kids can and should have their spheres of privacy. But they need to know that the Internet is a communal space, one that parents and kids are in together.

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Topic: Internet Safety




Comments

  1. melinda j says

    You can be safe on the internet by only associating with people you know in real life, and making all of your settings so that only people you know can see your information.

  2. Danielle Papsis says

    Start out early. Talk to your kids about not talking to strangers. Set clear rules. Get the kids involved so they understand the rules too. I find it’s much easier if you involve children in things whether it’s making dinner or whatever they’re more apt to build a better relationship along the way through everyday activities as well.

  3. rachel says

    Family members use devices or computer with others around..if somehing pops up then they are held accountable for handling it properly quickly.

  4. kymi a says

    Get restriction apps or call your cell company & see what they offer to prevent your kids from going on sites that aren’t safe or shouldn’t be viewing.

  5. Tammy S says

    We loaded tracking software on both our kids computers. We see everything that goes in and out on their computers. I have a report emailed to me every hour.

  6. rachel says

    Don’t be afraid to take away internet privileges — you need to protect your kids first and foremost.

  7. patricia says

    It’s so important… and we had this on every computer in our house until now- when our boys are big and know how to unlock every program… My 13 years old son- can brake into every program, instal what he wants to install, cancell what he wants ( so there is no history etc) and write a bad review for the people that are selling it :) That’s the reality.

  8. Denise says

    Don’t click on links in emails or email attachments unless you are 100% positive the link/attachment is good. Don’t just click on something because someone you know sent it to you. Their mailbox could have been hacked and that link might install a virus!

  9. Tabathia B says

    Put the computer in the family room and place parental controls in place via your anti-virus software

  10. Laura Jacobson says

    Oh I think its really important to start early with the kids, and keep an eye on what and where they are going on there! I always talk about things that can happen, and one show that always sticks in my head was one where someone was showing how just by looking at your facebook posts…they could find you. So, I think its important to not give out too much information such as where you work, places you are going, and other things to help keep our kids safe! If you want to share somewhere you are going….share after you went!

  11. Jennifer Mae Hiles says

    I need to do more about internet safety. I talk to my step-daughter about it and we monitor how much time she can spend on the computer but one time she asked me a question that I didn’t really want or know how to answer and when I stalled she say’s to me: “Well, you can tell me or I can look it up on the internet” ahh, talk about 11 going on 18!

  12. Ava Chavez says

    I never leave my accounts logged in…you never know how could get a hold of your phone/laptop/ipod!

  13. sandy weinstein says

    dont put banking infor on line..chnage passcodes regularly, use numbers and letters, caps, nothing familiar, use internet security, spybot, never pull up anything secure on public wifi

  14. Cindy Brickley says

    I go through all my emails and spam folder and make sure to delete out any suspicious mail before I start to read the rest so it doesn’t accidentally get opened.

  15. Diane W says

    I would use set times they are allowed on the internet. Even with the best software you need to know when your children are online.

  16. Desiree Dunbar says

    When I use my laptop in public I use a protection shield to guard any of my information from being looked at.

  17. Laura Smith says

    The computer is in the dining room and each time we walk by we see what she is doing on the internet

  18. amybelle2001 says

    I don’t click on links sent to me. Instead, I’ll open up a new tab and check out the website separately.

  19. Kathy L. says

    Carry over Stranger Danger to include the internet and keep the computer your children use in a central are in your home.

  20. Shannon says

    Great ideas for giving your kids a smartphone! I’ve read another good idea; Change the wifi password in the house daily, don’t give the kids the wifi password until they’ve finished their chores :)

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