You probably know every detail of the playground your children go to, recognize some of the other parents, know which swing goes highest! These days it’s just as important to know every detail of your children’s online playground too! Including fave sites they visit, the games they play and who they hang out with and chat to.
Just as you would carefully watch your child go down a tall or twisty slide, keep an eye on them when they are online. A website or chatroom can be just as dangerous as a scary slide – if not more so.
If younger children are online playing games or looking at websites, be with them the whole time. Older children don’t necessarily require constant supervision in the same way, but it’s always best to be in the room or at least check in frequently.
Set Rules: Limit screen time and decide how much time you are comfortable with your children spending online. Stick to it! Make sure there is a healthy balance between screen time and exercise/physical activity time. Make mealtimes and dinner tables device-free zones, even a little human interaction goes a long, long way!
Teach your children:
- To protect their privacy and be safe. Just as you teach them about not talking to strangers, teach them about stranger danger online too.
- To never give their name, phone number, email address, passwords, school, picture or postal address to anyone
- Not to open email from people they don’t know
- Not to respond to hurtful or disturbing messages
- Not to get together with anyone they meet online
- Where the off button is!
Keep the computer in a central spot – and that’s where it stays. Kitchen or dining room is best, rather than bedroom or tucked away in the office.
It’s always a good idea to put a piece of tape or paper over the camera to deter unwanted looky-loos.
And remember that you can always change the password to something your child doesn’t know!