Make Rules, Stick to Them
The Internet represents an exciting landscape for kids and teens, with the opportunities to make new friends and explore new things. But, it also comes with some inherent dangers.
Start early with your kids, and set boundaries at a young age. With those boundaries, keep a constant line of communication open.
As your child continues to grow up (and as technology changes), keep talking. The online and social media landscape is always evolving, and as that happens, the rules might sometimes need to change.
Set a good example
Children emulate what they see, and good social media and online protocols should start at the top. When trying to keep your kids safe online, be a role model with your own Internet and social media habits, since your child is likely to emulate your behavior. When your children see you making good decisions and being safe online, that sets an example they’ll hopefully follow.
Some basic rules
When it comes to safely using the Internet, Scholastic recommends a few helpful tips:
- Limit usage. Permit your child free online time for a set amount of time (such as 30 minutes) right after school to chat with friends, play games or visit social networking sites. But, make it a rule that family time starts with dinner.
- Keep kids in sight, and have them use the computer (or tablet or phone) in a centrally located area. A child is less likely to browse questionable content if they know a parent or sibling might walk by at any second. This makes it easier to monitor activity.
- Do your homework. Check browser history to know where your child goes online, and check the sites regularly. Use security tools and privacy features — whether offered by your browser or Internet service provider, or purchased separately — for extra protection.
- Set a code of conduct and time limits. Keeping kids safe means setting guidelines about suitable language, content and behavior. While it’s important to direct your child to suitable websites, it’s even more valuable to help them recognize the redeeming qualities of those sites and what makes them appropriate.