Do your kids use computers? When I was a kid, my parents picked software they thought would be educational for us to use, and we were then allowed to play educational computer games for set time periods every day. My kids have much more restricted access, and it’s all because our computer is online. There are educational computer games for kids that I recommend, but even with those kids could click one link and then another and end up somewhere they didn’t intend to.
Internet Safety Tips: How to Keep Kids Safe Online
The internet is here to stay, and I want my children to know how to use this valuable tool. Here are a few things we do to educate them:
- All computer use in our house is public – including mine and Mike’s. We feel that our kids learn a lot by seeing how we decide where to go online and what information to share in what contexts.
- We encourage our kids to ask questions about what we do online. My seven-year-old reads my blog every day – and all three of my older kids (the baby doesn’t really know the blog exists yet) have a lot of say as to what you see here and what doesn’t go online. If they don’t want it on the blog, it doesn’t go on the blog!
- Rules about age use and websites are strictly enforced. Facebook has a no-users-under-13 policy, for example, and it’s there to protect kids.
- When our kids do get old enough to use social media, we will be sure to be active members of their social media circles. We want to be part of our kids’ lives online as well as off.
- Mike and I try to stay on top of current technology. The fact that I blog and Mike is a computer scientist certainly helps!
- As our children grow older, we will likely use an internet management system easily monitor, filter, and set limits on internet use.
What internet safety tips do you have to share?
MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.
17 thoughts on “Internet Safety Tips for Parents”
Good topic! My kids use the internet in the same room as us too. They have places they like to go like Animal Jam and book series sites. My kids have their own blogs (they don’t post that often) through my Google account so I think that makes it a little safer. I think safe search works a lot better than it used to also.
I think a kid having a blog (with a lot of parental supervision) is a great way for them to start thinking about what they want online.
My girls are on Instagram which I am not really active on. They don’t want me to follow them either and it seems to be how they communicate besides the endless texting. The only good thing is that our middle school seems to do a LOT of internet safety talks with the kids. Thank goodness!
100% with you on the no computers in private areas.
We’re also planning, when the kids get email or such things, to be able to read them and their FB or whatever. Not because we don’t trust our kids, but because there’s some weirdos out there we don’t trust and I don’t want someone taking advantage of my kid (and no, I won’t read every single email, just randomly check to make sure it’s not an unknown).
That definitely makes sense – great way to explain it to your kids, also.
I really enjoyed reading your take on this. I’ve been thinking about it a lot as I just got a new computer and my old computer is going to become our homeschool computer. I haven’t decided exactly how we are going to use it but I’m thinking I’ll let one play educational games when I need to work one on one with the other. I love that Emma reads your blog – I think I should start reading mine to my girls.
I hope you find some great learning programs for your girls!
One tip that I heard and really liked related to your first tip was that all internet access, whether computers or ipads and such, should be out in the open and not in the kids’ bedroom alone for instance. Because the internet is essentially access to other people, and you wouldn’t let your kids be alone with a stranger in their rooms. The same should apply to internet access where they can very easily be accessible to strangers.
I’m probably a bit over-protective. My kids don’t know about my blog, and unless I have to respond to something urgently regarding a business matter, or if I need to print a worksheet, I don’t use the computer when they are awake. Nikki does have music theory exams online, and she just naturally picks up what she needs to know. This leads me to believe that my kids will catch on to technology and the internet very quickly when we decide to let them, and until then I choose to keep them analog as much as possible.
I think it’s fine to be over-protective! My kids are using computers in school, and I prefer to set limits at home first, and let the school rules be secondary to those at home.
With my kids getting older, I’m trying to think about this more. The main thing we do is make sure the kids are sitting in the living room (a very public place) when they are on devices. I agree…it’s so easy to click something and end up somewhere you shouldn’t be.
I think using computers in a public place is one of the simplest ways to avoid problems.
with Pip being 17, the world of facebook is looming ahead… she’s not yet gotten a profile due to the drama that seems to surround it at her high school. our main rule is that, while the internet is accessible to her, access to it is to be done in a common area of our home, not her bedroom.
I feel like that is the most important rule. Staying off facebook makes a lot of sense to me.
J has say on what goes online too. Most pictures that I post on my personal FB page J has personally requested that I post. I chuckle because it’s such a different age than we had growing up (ie. internet only at home and no high speed internet till college). It’s unfortunate though because it’s so accessible and a lot of kids post pictures and other things without realizing that they are there forever, even if they click delete, and can do a lot of damage. Also, middle/high school was tough that I can’t even imagine how bad it would have been with cyber bullying added on top of it.
I worry about cyber bullying…
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