Kids Searching Safely Online

I recently found out about a survey that Glubble and Highlights did on children surfing the web safely. You can read about it here.

~Someone at Glubble asked me to write something about Internet safety for their site. When this is posted on their site you know YOU will be the first to know.~

I put some thought into this topic and wanted to share with you what I came up with.


Keeping Our Children Safe While On The World Wide Web

There are one or two computers in most homes these days. And most children want their own laptop and cell phone. With so much adult content available on the World Wide Web it is our duty as responsible parents to know what web sites our kids are visiting and who they are talking to. I want to protect my children from uncontrolled exposure to grown up topics like sex and drugs. These are subjects that should be learned about in the proper environment when the time is right, not from a Google search.

While planning a family vacation not long ago we did a simple search for “Disney”. A word associated with family fun brought up a naked woman with Mickey Mouse painted on her body. Guess what body parts were his ears. This shows how fast things can get x-rated.

Here are some practical tips we use in our home.

* Have your computer in a common area. Ours is in the office which is viewable by everyone in the living room. In my opinion, a bedroom is no place for a computer that has internet access. I feel the same way about TV’s too but that is a different topic altogether.

* Set a time limit for computer usage and STICK TO IT! Don’t let the whining wear you down. You are the parent and ruler of all! On school nights each child has 30 minutes of fun free time on the internet. On weekends they are allowed more time. This limit doesn’t include time spent on the computer for homework or school projects.

* Learn how to limit and/or block access on your computers. (How you do this depends on what operating system or browser you use.) Our children have to ask permission to gain access to new sites by sending me an email. I can check out the site they want to visit then unlock access to it or block.

Even sites like “YouTube” and “Google” are blocked. Remember my Disney fiasco using Google?

* Keep track of passwords. If my children want to join something, like the popular social networking site MySpace, I must know their password. Because they know I can pop over anytime to review their online activity they make more responsible decisions.

* Manage these social groups carefully. My children aren’t allowed to talk to anyone unless they know them in person. Their profile must be kept private, only for family and friends (that I approve of) to view. And no posting photos until they are approved by us.

I really don’t care how good you think you look flashing that silly gang sign. It’s not going to be your profile picture.

All of the suggestions above work really well for our family. With everything now available at our children’s fingertips it is our responsibility to keep them safe.

Does this make me an unreasonable parent? No, it makes me a responsible parent.

Are my children missing out? No, they are given a safe environment to learn and grow.

If you have internet safety suggestions please email me at Iheartsupermom@aol.com and I’d love to share it with my blog readers.

Written by: Michelle Lee www.theadventuresofsupermom.com
Michelle has four children and is a self proclaimed Supermom.
Founder of www.kidfriendlyasheville.com

3 comments:

Debbie said...

We use the same rules at our house. No one - not even the ones leaving for college in a few short months - gets a computer in their room. Even the laptop must stay in the common areas of the house. Once they know the rules, they seem to accept them just fine.

Hi, I'm Amy! said...

I'm 26 with a 2 year old little boy so I'm not faced with this right now, but I know it will be here sooner than later. When I was in high school our computer was in the family den, faced so everyone can see what you are looking at. Being a teenage girl, I hated it - but I will do the exact same thing one day :)

The internet is SCARY and I can't imagine what things are going to be like by the time my little one knows how to use a computer. Aaaaaah!

Palymama said...

I applaud your attention to setting boundaries for your children in regard to the internet. I am a little surprised your teens do not use Facebook. Although it's still considered the "Wild, Wild West" the cybersphere is here to stay and our kid's generation is living inside of it - whether we like it or not. Just look at the recent (and soon to be more)failures of the newspapers. The next generation will be getting most of their content from the internet. Teaching them how to engage and use it properly are the newest set of challenges parents face. In my experience, parents either over-protect or under-protect, partly because of a lack of self-confidence and willingness (in some cases) to learn about it themselves. I write about this a lot on my blog, Tangerinetimes becaue I think to empower parents with information about how to set privacy settings on Facebook, Flickr and Youtube, empowers parents to let their kids engage with this powerful medium, learn from it, yet stay connected. I'm not saying that a parent who doesn't allow their teen to engage has made the wrong rules - it's every parent's right to set their own family values. But,I do think parents of teens would feel more comfortable with their teens'involvement if the parents knew there ARE ways to safeguard and put boundaries around their teen's use.