The World at Your Fingers
The internet has allowed us to have the world at our finger tips. This is a both an amazing resource for parents and kids, while simultaneously being a tremendous responsibility for parents. One of the top concerns for parents is managing their kid’s technology usage and access to the internet.
There are many safety hazards and devious explorations kids can fall into. It’s natural for kids to explore taboo areas when unsupervised, and this natural curiosity can lead them in the wrong direction and even place them in danger. Below are a few guidelines to help keep your kids safe.
Centralize the Computer:
Place the family computer in a high traffic location, where you can see the screen quickly and easily.
Parents should control all passwords so that kids can’t access without specific parental knowledge and permission. Whether it’s passwords to log onto the computer, or to visit certain websites, make sure you know them—and keep them to yourself. As your child matures and demonstrates responsibility and trustworthiness, you can add privileges. Many parents start out trusting their children, and while this is ideal, it’s not advisable, because again, the nature of children is to push the limits and explore, which is how they grow and learn…and…how they get in trouble! So, let them earn freedom based on maturity.
Cyber Bullying & Meanness:
It’s very important that kids be taught how to interact appropriately online, and they need to realize there are people out there who do not. There are spammers, bullies, and people who fish for information, as well as other kids who think it’s cool to be crude, rude, gross, or foul. Teach them not to share information with anyone without your permission and supervision.
Talk to your kids about some of their interests, and help direct them toward good online sites about the topics that they want to learn more about. Once you avoid, or block, the junky websites, the internet is a great educational resource for the whole family. Your kids can learn so much about the topics that interest them, and you can create a family learning time, by engaging in interesting topics together. Today’s families are often as inclined to gather around the computer as the TV. But, as with TV, there’s good and there’s junk. So, choose internet “nutrition” for your family and enjoy learning and growing together.
Set a timer, and make sure they’re off the computer when it goes off. If they don’t have a time limit they could be on for hours, which is not a healthy habit. Prolonged sitting is not good for any of us, and the close-up monitors can actually negatively impact eyesight.
Earn Recreational Computer Time:
A great strategy to limit computer time while assuring your child is also progressing, is to make have them read a book for every minute of recreational computer time. So, reading 30-60 minutes earns them that same amount of computer time. Alternate reading good books for outside play to balance electronic recreation with other healthier forms.
We can all learn great strategies from each other, so Please share your thoughts!
What you think about allowing your kids to use the computer! What age do you think is acceptable to introduce them to it? What do you think about placing time limits to their computer usage?