Growing up in a generation that saw the Internet bloom, it is easy to think about the rules given by parents BI (before Internet). The rules where do not talk with strangers, do not get close to a car that stops near you, never walk over to a car even if giving directions, and on they went. It was all about what you should or should not do for safety. The consequences were also rather severe with real grounding should one not follow the rules. By real grounding it meant no access to favorite things at all. They were taken away, removed from the room that would be four walls and a bed to sleep on.
It is not cruel to provide proper rules for your children to follow. It does take being steadfast, loving in all aspects, and determination not stubbornness that will help you even when it comes to the Internet and safety.
Here are some tips:
Respect your children by allowing your children to earn your respect
Have clear Internet usage rules
Setup parental controls on the computer based on age appropriate levels
Monitor your children
Have open communication with your children
Open communication is the one thing that great parents cannot stress enough when it comes to raising their children. Parents like to think they are saving their child from problems, topics they may not fully understand, or that it is inappropriate to share certain topics. But it is actually the opposite. Parents who talk about money troubles, friend troubles, work troubles, and age appropriate topics earn their child’s respect and honesty.
When secrets are kept by parents such as problems, children still know there is an issue. They also feel there is less respect or that secrets are okay. It is worse to have them think secrets are allowed.
By offering respect on a level that it is earned and communicating there is a better foundation for appropriate rules for Internet usage.
It is important to use parental controls. Let your child know you have put those in place for their safety and the reason why it is for their safety.
Next, set clear rules by giving them an amount of time they can be online; websites that they can visit or belong to, and usage of the Internet outside of the house. Again it is respect. Respect says you trust your child to adhere to these rules even when out of the house.
Let your child know they need to ask before they register for any site and that you will be checking their history. The fear that you will check their history before they can delete it is pretty intense. The fact is you can link your computer browser history to theirs by syncing your browsers. You can check their history as they surf the net.
Since they know you will monitor this it gives them an incentive to be good and follow your rules. When the rules are broken, then it is time to restrict access.
The point here is if you are open, provide rules, and check in on your children they are less likely to sign up for a site that will endanger their lives or personal information.