We’ve all heard that the Internet is making the world “smaller” by making it so easy to communicate in real time with anyone, anywhere on the planet. But that same Internet is itself becoming a larger and larger place.
Cyberspace is constantly growing, and could conceivably continue growing infinitely, much to many parents’ chagrin. In the light of this tangled expanse of photos, videos, and interactions, tips on Internet safety are of paramount importance for your kids. Here are just a few to keep in mind.
Set a Time Limit. Being online all day every day is a great way to stunt your actual social skills. Online time should be like television time — let your kids have only so much per day. Set a timer if you need to. (Set a timer for yourself, too, and see if your own social skills don’t improve.)
Write Up a Contract. Setting guidelines and discussing expectations is great, but putting it in writing is even better. Let your kids know what kind of online behavior is appropriate and inappropriate, and lay out the punishment for failure to maintain good behavior. This approach has been very popular with teen cell phone usage. Why not try it for online time?
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk to Your Kids. No doubt about it: some of the things online are scary, and certainly not things you would bring up in polite conversation around the dinner table. But you need to be able to discuss them frankly and openly if you have any hope of your children looking to you as a source of guidance when they come across something questionable online. (By the way, this isn’t just one of the better tips on Internet safety: it’s also a great rule of thumb for anything in life.)
If you have some sage Internet safety tips for children, Internet safety tips for teens, even Internet safety tips for parents… basically Internet safety tips for everyone and anyone, feel free to leave them in the comments below. Links like this.