How to Teach Your Kids to Use the Internet Responsibly
Jun 27, 2012
A question for parents: would you allow your children to play outside without keeping an eye on them? Many would likely say no. Well, the same mentality should be used when your kids use the Internet; in other words, kids should not be allowed to roam the vast world of the Internet unsupervised and without fully understanding its capabilities and dangers. So how do you teach your kids to use the Internet responsibly?
Sit down and have a talk with your child about the potential dangers of the Internet. Tell them that the Internet is a useful and fun tool, but make them aware of predatory individuals who manipulate and lie to children through various forms of social media. When it comes to kids and the Internet, knowledge is indeed power.
School officials, computer specialists, and even the Federal Bureau of Investigation implore parents to monitor their children's computer habits. Be aware of websites they are accessing and how much time they're spending on the Internet. Use parental controls and filtering software to keep unwanted sites blocked. And periodically review their site history records.
Set rules when it comes to computer use. Establish time limits for being on the Internet. It's a good idea, too, to put the computer in a central spot. Don't let your kids go behind closed doors and spend countless hours on the Internet. If they have Internet access through their phones, establish rules for access through that medium as well.
Teach them to post comments and pictures on social media sites such as Facebook or MySpace responsibly. Talk to them about cyber-bullying and to always be courteous and respectful when chatting or posting comments. Also, stress that they must not give out any personal information such as their age or address.
...And More Rules
While on the Internet, allow them only to chat with people they personally know, not people they have never met. Have them get permission to download anything. Do not allow them to open email attachments, even from someone they know, without checking with you first. And most importantly: do not share passwords with anyone (except parents, of course), even friends.
Be a role model. If you are spending an exorbitant amount of time on the Internet, chances are your kids will want to as well. Be careful about what sites you are accessing and how you are communicating via email and on social sites. Your kids are likely to learn their responsibility from you. Remember: actions speak louder than words!
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