Internet accessibility is everywhere. Children now carry a smart phone or have a computer/smart pad in their bedroom and are on those devices for extended amounts of time every day. It is speculated that kids are spending an average of 44+hours a week online. While technology is rapidly growing and its such an exciting time to raise children, the dangers online are growing every day. 1 in 7 children receive online sexual solicitation, and 65% of online sex offenders use the victims social network to gain information about them (Statistics source). Although there are risks to online use, kids have amazing tools to learn, create, and imagine- more so than any other generation before.
These technological advances bring with them an entire new dimension to parenting. We hear it so often here at Kids Email- where is the line between invasion of privacy and just good parenting.
There are several questions every parent needs to ask themselves before giving their child a smart device or a computer.
- Is access to the Internet a right or a privilege?
- How open is the line of communication in your home?
- Are your kids more tech savvy than the parent?
- Are you willing to check histories on all devices?
- Will there be a set time limit for internet use and device use?
Our opinion at Kids Email is this- when it comes to our children you can’t be too careful with online protection, and that means continually watching what our children are doing online. Internet use is a privilege, not a right, and trust has to be developed over time. This can be done with very strict rules and constant monitoring. Discuss agreed upon rules and have a very open line of communication- letting the child know they can discuss anything they have seen online.
Parents also need to be aware of how to use every device in the home. Knowing how to check the history, knowing what apps are being used, and knowing where the devices are at all times is crucial. Parents need to try and stay one step ahead and educated in the dangers children face online.
Some rules to consider are-
- Passwords are shared between parent and child
- Parents have the right to check any device at any time
- Devices can be taken away at any time if rules are broken
- Keep the main computer in a common area
- Remember that your online footprint stays with you- so be careful what is shared
- Never post personal information like an address or a phone number
Monitoring children online is not an invasion of privacy but good parenting common sense. When it comes to online activity, children do not need privacy but guidance. This will lead to a positive online experience that will benefit them as they grow and venture into the world, with a sure footing on how to be responsible online.