Irresistible appeal accompanies the Internet and digital devices for many cross sections of society including families and their children. The Internet however, can be a very dangerous place (for more info click here.) It is important to have very clear strategies and proper discipline to ensure children have the proper security on the Internet in an increasingly digital environment. A few key elements of online and digital safeway for children will be discussed below.
One key strategy is setting a family policy for the use of the internet and digital devices. The family policy should address things such as limits, location, and security as a starting point. It is vital to write the family policy out and ensure each family member has seen and acknowledged the policy. This promotes accountability and affords the opportunity for questions. If something is unclear or new dynamics arise, the policy can be added to or amended by the parental authorities of the family. It may even me necessary to post the policy on plain view in common digital usage areas such as the workspace where a main family computer is located.
The location of electronics, internet access, and where children are permitted to used movable/mobile digital devices is a critical issue. Home computers and workspaces should be located in family common areas. These common areas should be the only space children are allowed to access the internet unless accompanied by an appropriate adult. This type of structure allows for internet and device usage to be properly monitored at all times by parental authority figures. Privacy for children using the internet and digital devices is unnecessary and dangerous. This includes the use of mobile phones which have their own host of potential issues. Any conversation or activity that cannot be done in the presence of an appropriate adult is one that should throw up major security red flags.
Is important for children to have clear limits on how and when they can use the Internet and digital devices. It should be clear to them which type of websites they’re allowed to visit. Children should also know what time periods their use is appropriate in as well as the overall time limit. Homework activities should be delineated from personal activities though still properly monitored. Another example of an off limits activity may be using a search engine without parental involvement. This helps limit exposure to online elements that are not appropriate for children. It should be a privilege to use these things rather than a right. If grades or attitudes are out of line, usage can be taken away by the parent. This is where having a family policy helps provide accountability. This also makes it to where Internet enabled devices are not just randomly or casually a use by children throughout the home. This is a major security enabler. This allows it for an authority figures to know when children are specifically using their privileges, and otherwise they can be at peace knowing that they are not.
Social media can be wonderful, and it is also a double edge sword. There are many dangerous dynamics with social media not appropriate for children to encounter or be involved with. Not only are there scary elements such as sexual predators, but it’s also important to consider that social media broadcast messages to the world that are not only available for everyone, but may be available indefinitely. This can lead to serious consequences for a child’s immediate future or even have unforeseen consequences years down the road. Children often do and say things not reflective of their potential and these things should not be broadcast to the world. Children are also subject to severe criticism, pressure, and sometimes bullying through social media. It is important to carefully monitor any minor’s social media accounts and usage if they are allowed to use them at all. There is nothing private about social media and therefore it should be out in the open forum through family involvement, monitoring, and steady communication.
The current digital and online world has many dangers for children, however families who take initiative can ensure their children are in the safest position. Having a clear family policy addressing the use of the internet and digital devices can help alleviate the risks children are exposed to while also ensuring parental authorities maintain proper control. While it may be inconvenient at times, maintaining the proper safety for children with regard to the internet and digital devices should always remain a top priority.