Last month I posted Part I of Internet Safety Tips for Families. This month, I’m sharing Part II:
- Decide on Your Social Media Policy: As your kids get older, their educational needs may require more time online and their personal interests and social lives may desire it. Decide ahead of time your timeline on when you’ll allow certain activities, like social media or online gaming. Although popular social media sites, like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest state that you must be at 13 to create an account, many tweens are eager to set one up. It’s very difficult to control the content that shows up in a feed, so be sure to research the pros and cons of allowing your kids to have access. One option to consider is blocking social media from their devices but letting them experience it with you on your device. My husband often saves fun videos he comes across on social media and shares them with our kids from his phone.
- Anticipate What Ifs: Talk to your kids about what to do if they see something disturbing online at your house or a friend’s. Tell them why it’s important they tell you if a stranger approaches them online or if they see pornography. Unfortunately, according to fightthenewdrug.com, it’s estimated that nearly 94% of kids have seen pornography by the age of 14. In talking to other parents, it is often unintentionally through a video that automatically pops up or link they clicked by mistake. The book, Good Pictures and Bad Pictures, may be a good place to start the conversation with your kids.
- Know Their Friends and What Their Parents Allow: We can’t control what our kids’ friends are allowed to do, but it’s good if we know what they’re allowed to do. If their friends are allowed more freedom than your kids, talk about how to navigate that as a family.
- Talk to Your Friends: It’s amazing what we don’t know until we know. Talk to your friends about their online policies and how they safeguard their kids. Ask about loopholes they’ve found so you can be on the lookout for them as well. I wasn’t aware about the Roblox chat feature until a friend told me about it.
- Create a Contract: Creating an online family contract is a great way to spell out the rules and get a buy-in from all family members. Search online for a template or create your own.
What other suggestions do you have for keeping our kids safe online?
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