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.
My kids are just starting to get into using the computer. I have to have that talk with them soon.
I love this. Online safety is so important. You never know who’s lurking out there.
My kids are way too young to be on the internet on their own yet, and I’m so thankful for that. There’s so much scary stuff out there!
I’m dealing with this right now, I’m going to work on the boychild. He is crazy about the internet but I feel the need to protect him.
Both of y kids are on the computer almost as much as I am. This is a really smart way to keep them in check and safe.
Both of my girls are online often. I like that Life Lock is offering this contract free for parents. Setting boundaries will help keep them safe online!
My children are quickly approaching an age where we need to have the smart talk. It’s great that there are resources like this one.
3 out of my 6 kids get to go on the computer. But I have strict rules, and talk to them often. It freaks me out the internet. We will be having this talk again soon!
My husband and I were just talking about this very thing yesterday. I think kids are all different, in their curiosity level online as well as their interest in even being online. Crafting an agreement that suits each child makes the most sense to me.
My oldest is now in middle school and I know the era of her wanting her own social media accounts is not far away. I love the idea of an actual contract so both parents and children understand rules and expectations.
I can’t imagine raising a child in this age of technology. I think this contract idea is great!
Such an important topic as kids grow up in a techy age! Thanks for the online safety tips
My kids are still very young but I know this conversation is coming. Such a good idea to set rules and clear expectations for you kids.
My kids are all involved in the tech world. We have these talks constantly. My son was caught using an app he wasn’t allowed and has since lost his phone privileges. Its been over a year and he doesn’t suffer.
A contract with solid ground rules is great. It is important to check up on activities online