The summertime offers more free time and our kids are going to want to do things online more than ever. So what are some guidelines that we can set and how do we keep them safe. This article that just came out covers this material very well. It is at the Common Sense Media website.
As for Balanced Life Skills we will be covering age appropriate reminders for students on internet safety in our Focus on Friendship summer workshops for kids. In this part of the workshop we will be talking to each group about defining the term cyber-bullying, and helping them to see healthy ways to use the computer and safety rules for them to be aware are necessary. Each age group will be treated appropriately.
Here are some guidelines for parents and discussion points as your children start getting on line and being part of the world wide web community.
- Without permission of your parents do not give out any personal information.
- address, phone number
- parents work address or phone number
- name of your school or the location of the school
- Teach your child that if they come across information on any websites that makes them feel uncomfortable – they are to tell you about it immediately.
- this is in the case that they somehow get on a site by accident or have been redirected
- Under no circumstances or for any reason including promises should you agree to meet someone or get together with someone that you meet online without checking first with your parents. Then if they agree the meeting should take place in a public place and your parents should come along.
- Never send anyone online your photo or anything else without first checking in with your parents.
- Teach your child that if they receive a message that is mean or is harassing, or a picture that is uncomfortable they are to let you know right away. Reassure your child that it is not their fault and then as the parent you may contact the authorities and or the online service.
- Finally set up rules for going online, such as the time of day, how much time you will be on the computer and appropriate areas for your child to visit.
- Have the computer that your child will be using in a public area of the house so that you are able to see what your child is doing while online.
- Have an understanding that if they break the rules or access areas without permission that you the consequences are as you have set them out.
Keeping your child safe is your first and most important requirement as a parent. Talking about these rules ahead of time and on a frequent basis will show your child how important this subject is to you. They may protest at times and say they do not like it or see it as an invasion of privacy, but in the end they will appreciate you having their best interest at heart and recognize your concern for their safety.
One of the best things you can do is sign an agreement with your child about their conduct online. Here are age appropriate ones that you may want to use.