Since my older kids were born in the early 90s, my children’s on-line safety was easy business. All computers were big ‘ole desktops in the living room. Phones were corded. Video had to be downloaded, and that could take a while.
I remember trying to download the trailer for the first or second Harry Potter movie for the kids. It took eight minutes. I left and made a cup of tea before it was complete.
Now our house is full of super-fast wifi. We have tablets and smart phones for every person in our house. The Internet is a click away at all times. I held out against the girls getting cell phones of their own until they were in junior high, but that practically made me The Meanest Mom in the World™.
Still, it was important for me to protect my kids from the whole rest of the world, which is what’s waiting for them on the Internet. Also, I wanted them to know the rules apply to them, and the social media platforms they wanted to be on didn’t allow children under 13 to join according to their terms of service. This is in effort to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
Surprisingly, one of the biggest dangers to children’s online safety is their own parents’ fear of technology. Fear prevents a thorough understanding of risks, and how to reduce those risks.
Luckily, my husband and I both grew up with tech, so we we’re usually up to date with technology. We’ve been checking browsing history and installing safe-search programs for years now. Our search parameters are so clean, I can’t even buy underwear online! (Kidding.)
We’ve been too strict, and too lenient, and every other mistake you can make with kids and tech. My best advice after shepherding four kids through the teen years is this:
Monitor. It’s important! You need to know where they are going online. You’re not snooping; you are parenting. If you wouldn’t turn your kids loose in a big, unknown city, why would you turn them loose on the Internet?
Talk a lot. Know what’s going on in their virtual lives, just like you do in their real lives. Basically, all good parenting comes down to this. Every day there should be time when no one is looking at a screen. You will never regret that time spent with your children.
Stay connected—to them. Kids are looking to connect. Of course, growing up means it’s time for them to pull away from us and become more peer-dependent. Loosen up the apron strings while still staying fully involved in all aspects of your kids’ lives.
There’s not one way to raise children. The way I choose to do things most likely are going to be different from the way you do things. And it’s all right.
This post was inspired and sponsored by Domain.ME, the provider of the personal URLs that end in .ME. As a company, they aim to promote thought leadership to the tech world.
Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says
My kids are 7 & 10 and are not allowed to use the computer. I worry about their safety and frankly, there is no reason for kids that young to be surfing the net – they should be outside playing.
Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says
Internet safety is so important. There are so many crazies out there just waiting to insert themselves into our kids’ lives.
Myrah - Coupon Mamacita says
I think this is a great article. Internet safety should be tops on everyone’s list. It’s just too easy for people to connect with our kids online.
Internet safety is so important. There is so much stuff out there that kids don’t need to see.
These are some great tips here! Keeping the little ones safe online is so very important!
In this day in age, I think technology and internet are vital for both kids and adults to learn to use. Safety has always been a concern, but keeping communication and frequently discussing online use rules has done well for us.
This is now a full time job for me since my tween is on line at home and outside of the home. Too bad, I snoop through his phone because I pay for it!
Carly Brydon Anderson says
Keeping safe on the internet, period, is so important. And it’s so important to monitor and teach your children how to be safe as well.
Marcie W. says
These are great tips and so very important for overall safety. We monitor our children’s apps and internet usage closely.
Debbie Denny says
Very good tips. There is so much to keep up to date on now so communication is important.
The Internet is such a scary place. Online safety is the absolute most important to me if my kids even look at the computer! These are really great tips!
Toni | BoulderLocavore says
This topic is so important. There are so many things lurking on the internet with tags for ordinary things that lead kids into inappropriate topics. Parents can’t be too careful!
Internet Safety is very important. I am always a bit shocked when I see how completely in the dark some adults are when it comes to knowing what their kids are doing online. A bit frightening really.
No one that age in the house, but I work with teen girls and the stories I hear them tell each other about online activity. Scary. Of course they clam up the second you inquire about any of it, even in the most casual, I’m your cool adult friend that you can come to anything about kind of way. Luck!
Seattle Travel Blogger says
Online safety is very important. There are many dangers that go along with playing online.
Dinner, then Dessert says
I have to say it terrifies me to think about what is in store for me. I have an infant and a toddler… who knows what the internet will be like by the time they want cell phones.
online safety is paramount. We monitor our kids and are always changing safeguards as technology changes.
My kids are still very little but I do worry about their online use when they are older. I know I will monitor their online use when they are old enough
As much as we would love to not worry about this, we just can’t ignore it-it is too important! Great tips!