Children and the Internet

Not a day goes by when we don’t hear about some internet activity that places our children in harms way.

I have just received another flyer from the school regarding ‘an expert’ speaker on how to protect our kids on the internet.

Really, who can protect their kids against anything these days? Our children will find a way to do anything that really their parents will questions – it is the nature of parenting. That said, having gone through raising two well adjusted and socially responsible adults, my younger two children have had restrictions placed upon them regarding their computer usage.

Rule 1 – no computers in their bedrooms. All computer use is in the family area. We all work in the same home office and all computer screens are facing towards each other.

Rule 2 – no personal information on the internet – this is very important. My children as well aware that facebook and other social networking sites are for when they are a lot older!

Rule 3 – we explain ‘cyber stranger danger’ to them the same way you explain normal stranger danger. Be clear and concise and always be there for listening.

Rule 4 – no internet usage on mobile phones. I have put my kids on prepaid plans that give 1c text only. I have also programmed into the phone the numbers. The amount is minimal that is prepaid and thus if they try to do the big internet number on the phone simple, credit will run out and nothing left.

Rule 5 – all because your friends have it, want it, promised it doesn’t mean you can have it, want it or get it promised. We don’t listen to the line ‘but mum so and so can do it’. Older and wiser, we just say NO.

Rule 6 – as a parent if you are unsure just say NO

The main thing is to make sure you are fully aware of what they are doing on the net. As a rule, no facebook if I am not on their friends list! This is not stalking my children but the same as keeping
them safe and protected. I insist that they never ever put their photograph on the internet where just anyone can grab it. This is near impossible with the sites these days that allow
tagging of photos.

Another interesting program that the kids are really into is Skype. I carefully monitor when my kids are on Skype and who they are connected with.
Their friends can get on Skype but as I explained to my kids, you may see their name on the account but you cannot be 100% certain whose hands are on the keyboard and who is typing.

some ramblings again from a practical parent in the days of the internet jungle!