Our usual subject matter is safety for babies and younger kids, because that’s what we know right now. I’m sure however, we have readers with older kids and this subject is going to be one that will become near and dear to my heart in the coming years, I’m sure.
My husband is an engineer in the network security field. Sure, it sounds all fancy and stuff, but what it really means for us, as a family, is that he keeps abreast of all of the latest in regards to internet security, and it’s already been discussed that when our kids are older, our network will be on complete monitored lockdown.
It’s important for your kids to learn how to use the internet. To some, it may seem as if the internet is this new fangled thing. Some passing fad, but when you get right down to it, there’s already a generation out there that has no idea what life is life without it (which makes me feel old when I can say, “I remember the day MTV aired”). So it’s important to teach your kids internet safety. Especially these days with every type of social media you can think of, it has become much easier for cyber predators to lurk around every corner, and now there are more and more stories cropping up about cyber bullying. But where do you draw the line? You want to give your kids some freedom to have a Facebook account like their friends, or allow them to play online games with their friends. And while you want trust your kids, you’ve seen more episodes of Dateline to instill enough fear in you to last a lifetime. So how do you go about teaching them how to safely surf the internet, while still being able to monitor them? SafeMama has some tips:
- Keep the computer in a common area. I realize now that most kids have their own laptops, which may be necessary for older kids to use for school work, but have them stay in view of you. If they’re teenagers, have a common agreement where you respect their need for privacy, while still being able to make sure they’re not getting into trouble. This is also somewhat critical for teens who are apt to lock themselves away, never to be seen by their families again.
- Install web filters to keep young children away from sites intended for adult eyes only.
- Share Login Info. If you’re allowing them to create a Facebook or other type of social media account, let them know that you’ll want their login info. Not because you want to spy on them, but because you want to keep them safe. If that’s not something you can agree on with your child, at the very least, have it be a requirement that you’re “friends” on Facebook.
- Consider using a monitoring software. If you wanted to use something like this, be honest with them, and let them know that you’re able to see what they’re doing, and not because you intend to watch their every move. Make sure you don’t violate that trust just to get the daily dish of what’s going on in their social lives. Hopefully you’ll have the lines of communication open enough that they’ll keep you in the loop of what’s going on, but older kids need some privacy. We all have stories we tell our parents when they’re at prime heart attack age, of the things we did as kids. You may even get the old line of “don’t you remember what it’s like to be my age?” And sometimes, we forget, but we also didn’t have the technology that they have so readily available to them. If you were lucky, you actually had a computer, and if you were even luckier, you had a 2400 baud dial-up modem. “And we LIKED IT!”
Got any other tips? Software suggestions? Start a discussion in the comments!