As parents, it is important to teach your child to follow the rules and to use those rules to keep him safe. This is why so many parents are concerned with kids’ Internet safety today. While there are many kids who willingly follow these rules, there are others who break the rules, often without the knowledge of the parent or another adult. With the rise in cyberbullying, online predators, and other problems online, it is important for parents to make these Internet safety rules perfectly clear and come up with consequences to ensure their children are protected. You need to learn about how kids start breaking the rules on internet safety!
Kids’ Internet Safety: Set the Ground Rules
Before you even allow your children to make use of the Internet, it is important to sit down as a family and set the ground rules. There are many types of ground rules you need for the safety of your kids, including how much time they can spend online, where they can go, and what behavior you expect online. Some of the most common rules many parents set for their children include:
- An http://safetynet.aap.org/internet.pdfage-appropriate length of time to spend online
- Keeping the computer in a central location for monitoring
- Limiting the types of websites your child visits
- What they should do if they encounter offensive material
- What information they are allowed to share and with what kinds of websites
- Whether you require him to check with you before visiting a new site or signing up for a new site
This list is not all-inclusive. Check into all the possibilities to ensure you have rules that will cover any type of negative behavior your child may become involved in.
Kids’ Internet Safety: Post Your Ground Rules
Once you have set the ground rules, it is important to print them up in a friendly format and post them in a visible area. It is typically best to hang these rules directly next to the computer so they are a constant reminder to your child of what you expect of him while he is online. No matter how prominently you display your Internet ground rules, though, it is always a possibility that your child may break those rules and breach his Internet safety. For any breach of kids’ Internet safety, it is important for you to know how to handle the issue and prevent a similar problem in the future.
Uncovering the Breach and Stopping them from Breaking the Rules
If you aren’t an avid computer user, it can often be difficult to identify a breach in your child’s online safety. However, this doesn’t spare you of the responsibility to keep your child safe while he is online. Because of this, it is critical for all parents to learn how to use the Internet and check up on their child’s activities. This includes periodically checking the history, as well as obtaining your child’s log-in names and passwords, along with a list of sites they visit on a regular basis. Being able to check up on your child’s Internet activity will show you if he is following the rules or not. Watching your child for unusual behavior changes can also tip you off to bad behavior online.
Talk to Your Child about Breaking the Rules
As soon as you suspect your child has been breaking the ground rules you have set for online usage, you need to talk to your child right away. Don’t put off this talk. The longer you wait, the more trouble your child can encounter. Depending on the type of breach that has occurred, waiting any period of time can be detrimental to your child’s safety. The content of your talk will depend on the problem. For instance, if your child has been involved in cyberbullying, you need to talk to him about the way he makes others feel and the negative consequences that can follow him if he is discovered by another adult. At the end of the conversation, you will have to address how you will punish your child for the actions he has taken.
Kids’ Internet Safety: Explain Why You Are Upset
Too many parents don’t take the time to explain to their children why they are so concerned with kids’ Internet safety. If you simply tell your child what he did was wrong and a breach of your rules, he isn’t going to understand why he is punished. Therefore, you need to tell your child why the action he performed was wrong. For instance, if your child was caught chatting with someone and gave out his full name or his city, explain to him the presence of online predators who will lie to children for their own personal gain. Show him news stories online about children who have gone missing because of giving private information to someone online. Giving him real-life examples of what may happen can often have a greater impact than simply talking to him.
Execute the Consequences for Breaking the Rules
There are many consequences you can execute when it comes to your children and their safety on the Internet. The consequences of the behavior must directly relate to the behavior to have the greatest impact. One of the most common consequences parents executes for their children when they break an Internet safety rule is to revoke the privilege of using the Internet at all. However, with the need to use the Internet for school work today, it can sometimes be necessary to bend the rule if your child needs to perform research for a school project. If this is necessary, though, you should monitor his usage closely. Some of the other potential consequences include:
- Banning specific websites, such as social media sites or a gaming sites where cyberbullying occurred
- Taking away a wireless device that has access to the Internet
- Taking away the privilege of going to a specially planned event, such as a school dance or sporting event
- Shortening the amount of Internet time allowed
The most important factor in determining the punishment besides making it fit the crime is ensuring it is something that will truly speak to your child. This means considering your child’s individual needs.
After the set time has passed for the punishment, it is important to sit down and go over the kids’ Internet safety rules and why they are in place again. This ensures your child knows and understands the rules. At this point, he will also better understand there will be serious consequences if the rules aren’t followed again in the future. It is also best not to give your child free reign of the Internet again. There are steps you should take to monitor your child’s Internet behavior while still giving him the ability to use it, including:
- Adding a keylogger to the computer so you can see exactly where he is going and what he is doing online
- Keeping the computer within your eyesight when your child is using it
- Placing parental controls on the computer to block certain sites
- Limiting the use of the computer to times when you can sit with your child as he uses the Internet
As your child exhibits proper kids’ Internet safety, you can slowly draw back on the monitoring. This shows him that you will eventually trust him and he can work to rebuild your trust.
Working through the problems of breaking Internet rules can be a difficult one for parents. The Internet is such a major part of the world and education today that it can be impossible to completely remove the Internet from your child’s life. However, it is still your job as a parent to make sure your child is safe while he is online. To do this, you need to have ground rules and know how to deal with them when your child breaks those rules so you can teach him how to use the Internet responsibly and safely.