And, though the internet can offer countless entertaining, social and even educational opportunities, it can also be a menacing place for children of all ages. Without guidelines and supervision, your children could be exposed to cyberbullying, inappropriate or hateful content, and many other dangers.
That’s why preserving open communication and setting up usage guidelines are so very important.
If you’re wondering how to best protect your kids from online dangers this summer, here are 7 tips to help you!
- Enjoy offline family time every day. Every day include some activities that do not revolve around the computer, TV, or any other digital device. Plan a day trip to an amusement park, enjoy a picnic, play a game of catch, or work on a craft project together.
- Set a good example. Whether at home or on vacation, set a good example for your kids. Don’t constantly check your emails or messages, put the phone away at the dinner table, and “unplug” often. Your kids will mirror your behavior.
- Centrally locate the computer. Putting the computer is a central location in your home is a great way to monitor your kids’ online habits. Also, outline if children are allowed to take smartphones and tablets into their bedrooms or if all “screens have to be seen”.
- Establish usage guidelines. Define the rules early and be consistent. Set a time limit for phone and internet usage, define what is acceptable behavior and what is not, and teach them privacy rules.
- Have open conversations. Discuss with your children the meaning of privacy and what is and isn’t appropriate to share online. Also, talk to them about online threats so that they begin to understand why having guidelines for internet usage are important in the first place.
- Offer alternatives. Suggest that your kids take part in activities outside of the house, like summer camp, sports, or arts & crafts. This not only will keep them offline, but it will provide them with mental and social stimulation.
- Put it in writing! Click HERE to download the Common Sense Media Agreement create by Time Warner. This contract includes 3 sets of checklists for kids of various ages as well as conversation guides for parents. If you want to establish healthy online boundaries with your children, this media agreement is a great resource.
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