Delinda Samp, M.A.

Seven Ways to Provide Guardrails on Cyberspace for Your Kids

Guidelines for Parents

 

Work together as a family to develop guidelines and policies that work for everyone.
1.  Stay Connected with your teen and pay attention
Talk about online activity and share internet experiences.  Teens stay connected to each other through social media, so you should use social media, too.  Have conversations about who they chat with, and what sites they visit. Talk about the consequences of putting information on the WEB like what they write on the internet stays in cyberspace, forever!  Educate them about the fact that everything they write and upload is public. Have them show you what they are into and who their online friends are. Check out these friends, just as you would a “real” friend.
2. Educate Yourself 
Learn about the sites your kids use including safety features.  Understand the purpose of the site and how to navigate and use each site.  Learn about the games they play and play with them so you can gain insight about why they enjoy the game.    Information is power.  Stay informed.
3.  Be A Role Model
As parents, we are hooked on our own technology.  We would be lost without our cell phones and e-mail.  Be a role model for your kids.  Use computers and mobile devices with self-discipline.  When you are talking to your kids, put down your cell phone and turn away from your e-mail.

Setting limits

4. Don’t hide technology away in back rooms
Keep PCs and laptops in the family room – out in the open so use of these devices is also “out in the open”  If you have computers in the bedrooms, keep the door open with the monitor facing the door.  Have a curfew that all computers are turned off by  10:00 or 11:00.
5.  Restrict the Use of Smart Phones, iPads and iPod Touchs
Middle schoolers (or younger) do not need smart phones or the iPod Touch. The reality is that middle school children should not have access to the Internet or send and receive email when they are unsupervised, especially while they are away from home.  They really don’t need to carry cell phones at school: If we want the convenience of having a child have a phone, limit the options on the other end.  For instance, we can block certain phone numbers, limit the number of calls, check monthly bills and make sure the rules are being followed. In other words, by determining a reasonable balance we can have convenience and security yet retain some control.
6.  Have family time away from high tech devices
Schedule quality time together as a family or one-on-one time playing board games, trips to the beach or hikes in the mountains, dinner and a show or even a long drive in the countryside.  Agree to keep cell phone turned off during these scheduled events.
7.  The Internet is an Adult World 
There are well over 40,000 “adult” websites on the internet and to gain access to these sites you simply have to give your Date of Birth.  One can easily lie.  This kind of experience can have a lifelong negative affect on a young person. Reach out and get help  Use omputer software: NetNannie, Covenant eyes to provide accountability.