Managing online safety at home

Introduction: More and more kids are spending time online - on their cellphones, connecting and communicating through media and with each other. They are instant messaging, texting, sending messages and sharing content in social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube. How does this effect our children? What is a good way to manage safe and appropriate use of these interactive technologies?

Rules for Parents

1. Model good behavior. If we’re on our Blackberries or iPhones at dinner, why will our kids listen to us when we tell them to turn theirs off?

2. Pay attention. We have to know where our kids are going online -- and what they're doing there.

3. Impart our values. Cheating, lying, being cruel -- they’re just not OK. Right and wrong extends to online and mobile life.

4. Establish limits. Phone time, video download time, destinations. There’s really a right time and place for everything.

5. Encourage balance. Get kids involved in offline activities -- especially where there's no cell service.

6. Make kids accountable. If they have a privilege, make sure they earn it.

7. Explain what's at stake. Let kids know that what they do today can be abused by someone tomorrow.

8. Find ways to say "yes." That means we have to do some homework and know the sites they visit, the songs they download, etc. -- and find ways to use technology that lets us say “yes” more often than we say “no.”

9. It's not rocket science. Learn to text, send a mobile photo, set up a Facebook page, upload a video. Or have your kids show you how. It's impossible to guide what you don't understand. Not only that, but think of all the anxiety you can avoid by knowing how things work.

10. Lighten up, embrace their world, and enjoy the possibilities together. None of us want digital divides in our relationships with our kids. It's up to us to join the fun and help them seize the potential.

Source – Commonsense Media - Rules of the Road for Parents in a Digital Age

Suggestion: For more specific tips on mentoring and managing cyber-safety with your children, go to:

Ways to manage online safety at home

• Be aware of what your kids do, what they have access to, who they are talking to and on what devices.

• If the computer has to be in the bedroom, tell children they have to have it facing the door and keep the door open. This doesn’t stop risky behaviour but stops high-end risky behaviour.

• If they are spending too much time online, discuss with your children ways to manage this.

• Consider phones being put somewhere central in the house to charge before people go to bed.

• Be aware that some kids carry two cell phones- one as a dummy to hand over if called to task, the other is the ‘real one’.

• Ensure children understand about privacy and not sharing too much information online.

• Spend time talking about and modeling good communication and behaviour and teach your kids how to be savvy and safe online.

• Manage your computer settings to avoid access to questionable material.

Source – Adapted from Greg Gebhart's keynote

Note: Not all kids are the same (age, maturity) and require the same rules. For tips on age appropriate mentoring online, go to:

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Safety tips tessagray tessagray 0 143 Oct 13, 2010 by tessagray tessagray