Talk with your child about online dangers. Explain identity theft, cyberbullying, the dangers of meeting someone he or she meets online, and the warning signs that an online “friend” may be an Internet predator interested in sexually abusing a child or teenager.
1. Never underestimate an Internet predator’s persistence.
2. Do not allow your child’s picture to be used without your permission.
3. Teach your children to keep personal information, along with passwords and photos, private.
4. Keep computers in common family areas of your home. Do not allow your child unlimited access to a computer with Internet access, especially in a bedroom or a secluded area of your home.
5. Do not allow your child to use:
Regularly search your computer’s Internet history.
1. Let your child teach you what they know about computers. This will help to open up communication and empower your child.
2. Visit your child’s favorite websites with them.
4. Make the effort to be informed about computers and the Internet.
5. Have your children log onto the family computer with a single family account that will not restrict your access.
6. Establish limits on phone use, video download time, social networking, instant messaging and other computer pastimes. Some examples of possible limits follow:
7. Model good behavior. Follow the same technology-use limits that you establish for your children.
8. Make kids accountable. Technology use is a privilege, not a right. Make sure they earn it.
9. Enforce appropriate consequences if rules are broken.
10. Explain what’s at stake. Let kids know that what they do today may be used against them in the future.
11. Find ways to say “yes” That means doing your homework and knowing the sites they visit, the songs they download, etc. — and finding ways to use technology that lets us say “yes” more often than we say “no.”
12. It’s not rocket science. If our children can do it, so can we. Learn to text, send a mobile photo, set up a Facebook page, upload a video. Or have your kids show you how. It’s impossible to guide what you don’t understand. Not only that, but think of all the anxiety you can avoid by knowing how things work.
13. Embrace their world and enjoy the possibilities together. None of us want digital divides in our relationships with our kids. It’s up to us to join the fun and help them seize the potential.
Remember, technology is here to stay. It is an integral part of our lives today and tomorrow.
Source: Common Sense Media (2009). (Common Sense Rules of the Road for Parents).
Kid-friendly Social Networking Sites:
Please note, the age limits listed below are based on the site’s limits and may not be appropriate for all children in these age ranges. Do your homework and use discretion when allowing children to set up their own online social-networking profiles.
A secure social networking site for girls limited to real-life friends. Ages 8 and up.
A social networking site for kids and teens that promises to block adults. Ages 9 and up.
Kid version of adult social networking. Ages 7 and up.
Safe, smart, socially conscious networking site. Ages 14 and up.