When I was a kid things were pretty simple – you went to school, came home and did homework, went out to play with your friends, maybe watch a little T.V. if it was raining or cold. When I went for a bike ride I was told to be home at a specific time, and I knew the neighborhood boundaries on how far I was allowed to go. The worst trouble we’d get into is going one street over to ride past that ‘cute boys’ house to see if he was outside.
Now here I sit with my kids, video games where you can play and talk with people across the country, social media sites where anyone in the world can talk to you, chat rooms, video chats..it’s a big, scary but necessary world out there in the world wide web. I mean, gone are the days of going to the library to research – that’s what Google is for (and for the life of me I cannot remember what I did before google. If I wanted to know what time a store closed did I really get out a yellow pages, look up the number and CALL THEM?!) homework, research, heck most assignments are assigned via an app or school website. It’s next to impossible to keep your kids of of it. So where does that leave us?
I cannot even tell you how many debates I’ve read (and been in on) in person and on social media about what you should and shouldn’t allow your kids to do when it comes to being online. This argument is ridiculous to me because it’s kinda of like saying everyone should breastfeed, or everyone should bottle feed, or everyone should have the same curfew; it makes no sense. Not only kids are the same, and definitely not all parents are the same either. Just like other big parent debates, what and how long your kids access the web, is up to you.
Personally I am a bit more liberal in parenting – I say let’s go for it and learn along the way! I am FBI Mom and I would have passwords, etc, but I didn’t have any rules per say. It was a struggle, and frustrating for everyone involved. That’s why I love that LifeLock, Inc., and National PTA® issued a free online safety contract The Smart Talk.
Smart Talk helps establish ground rules for computer usage, online time, social media, safety & privacy, apps & downloads, texting & calling, reputation & respect and online photos and videos. The Smart Talk contract asks you and your child some simple questions, and guides you through each category so that rules are established and agreed upon by both parties (just remember you are the parent, it’s OK if they aren’t happy about it all) they know what is acceptable – and what isn’t – and this not only keeps them safe, but it gives you peace of mind (and peace at home – trust me on that one).
The internet can be a great resource -and a lot of fun. But just like everything else,it’s best used in moderation. Have a talk with your kids and sit down with The Smart Talk to establish the best rules for you and your family.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.