I could write numerous posts on technology, simply because there is so much out there in terms of technology. For that reason, this post in no way covers even a small portion of how we as parents need to be proactive when it comes to technology. But, since we have to start somewhere…here goes.
There are so many variables in family dynamics, in religious beliefs, in moral standards, in preferences, and so much more. For this reason, my suggestions here may also need to be varied to make them fit in your life.
But, here are some things that you can use when it comes to dealing with kids and the internet.
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Remember, you are the parent
You are the parent so don’t feel bad about being the parent. Likewise, you are the parent, which means that you are the one who gets to lay down the law. And, you are the parent, which means that you set the standards. You set the tone. Yes, you provide the example when it comes to how the internet is and isn’t used in your home. First and foremost, you are the parent so you need to take charge of all aspects of the internet in your home and family.
First and foremost, you are the parent so you need to take charge of all aspects of the internet in your home and family.
Don’t rely on anything other than yourself
When it comes to keeping your kids safe and using healthy boundaries when it comes to the internet, don’t rely soley on any kinds of filters, programs, or even other people to keep your kids safe. If you want to do everything you can to keep your kids safe on the internet, you can’t rely on anyone or anything other than yourself. You can certainly use these things, but they can’t be the only line of defense you have in keeping your kids safe.
When I can see the sites my kids are going to (after setting restrictions on the sites they visit based on age), it allows me to have a conversation about making good choices.
It is amazing and gives you reports the sites being visited and allows you to even block certain times if you want. We love it!
In keeping your kids safe on the internet, you have to keep up on what is going on in the world of technology and the internet. You need to keep up on the latest trends, the latest lingo, and the happenings within social media networks. You cannot properly monitor your kids and their internet involvement if you don’t know what it going on. Does this take time? Yes. Is keeping your kids safe on the internet worth it? Yes.
Get a backbone
I’m guessing that there will be times when battles over the internet and the rules you’ve put in place regarding it may not be so widely accepted among your kids. There may be times when they don’t want to abide by your rules and guidelines. This means you may have a bit of a confrontation on your hands. This is especially true when “everyone else is doing it” in the eyes of your kids.
Know that with the freedom you give your kids in terms of technology and the internet comes the need for you to get a backbone and be prepared to stand your ground when it comes to enforcing and monitoring your kids and their internet use.
Again I say, it is not effective to parent using the “do as I say and not as I do” model. If you want your kids to abide by certain rules and guidelines regarding the internet, then you better be living by those same principles. And di it all of the time. Does this mean that you may have deny yourself at times? Yes. However, modeling healthy technology and internet habits is essential.
Does this mean that you may have deny yourself at times? Yes. However, modeling healthy technology and internet habits is essential.
Establish your own guidelines
What works for me or someone else will be different than what will work for you. How much time, where, what, and so many more allowances will have to be unique to your own family and your own family’s needs. By all means, gather ideas of how to enforce rules and guidelines from others. But, be certain that they will work in your family and in your home, modifying them as needed.
Talk about it
As in anything when it comes to rules, clearly define your expectations and resulting consequences to your kids. If you want your kids to follow these things, make sure they understand these things. Then, be sure to keep the lines of communication open. It is always a good idea to have regular, meaningful, and intentional conversation with your kids, but this is especially true when it comes to using the internet.
Then, be sure to keep the lines of communication open. It is always a good idea to have regular, meaningful, and intentional conversation with your kids. But, this is especially true when it comes to using the internet.
Monitor the internet regularly including where, when, and what
This does take time and it does take effort on your part. It can be very time consuming, in fact, however, there is no point in establishing rules and guidelines if you don’t plan on seeing to it that they are obeyed. It is much easier to monitor things if your kids’ access is somewhat limited to devices, time spent surfing the internet, and so much more. For this reason, it is beneficial to keep this in mind when deciding what your kids have access to. Then, monitor on a regular basis.
Know their friends
Know their friends, both their “real” in-person friends as well as the friends they have on the internet. Sadly, the safety of your kids is largely dependent on the safety of their friends. As parents we all know what can happen with kids who fall into the wrong crowd.
Respect privacy as long as it is earned
Your kids deserve some privacy on the internet, as long as they can be trusted and it has been earned. It does take effort, but your kids have a much greater chance of staying safe on the internet if there are limitations in place.
Privacy is something your kids will want, but it also cannot be freely given. My kids have to prove that they are able to handle the internet responsibly before they are able to have privacy. If they prove otherwise, their privacy will end up being restricted or denied altogether.
When it comes to training your kids how to use the internet responsibly and how to abide by your rules and expectations, start them young. Teach them how to use the internet safely right from the beginning. In an age appropriate way, teach them that you have rules and guidelines for the internet to keep them as safe as possible.
As with anything when it comes to your kids, teaching them right the first time always makes life easier down the road.
There are no guarantees in anything when it comes to your kids, internet and technology safety included, but putting forth the time and effort in working through these steps are among the best things you can do. Be vigilant, continually reexamine what you have in place, and make adjustments as needed as time passes.
If used safely, the internet can be a really great resource for so many things in the life of your children. Enforcing healthy habits now will hopefully set your kids up to make healthy decisions regarding the internet on their own both now and in the future.