June is internet safety month and as a mother I feel it is a very important issue.
Whether it be mobile phones, home computers, or public computers, the access that our children have to the world wide web is scary. There are people out there you don't want your children to connect to, websites that you don't want them to see, and information out there that isn't appropriate for adults, much less children!
It's important to have a frank discussion with your children on why you will monitor their internet usage. The first step is making sure the family computer is in an area of the house that is a heavily used area. With people passing back and forth the computer and web page is viewable to everyone. There are several programs that can password lock any questionable websites.
According to a recent U.S. Cellular survey, 47% of parents say that their children have their own cellphones, starting at the average age of 12 years old. With cellphones it can be hard to know how much freedom to give your children. With Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and many more social media outlets, your children need to know how to stay safe online.
You can start with the Parent/Child Agreement. It is a way to broach the subject of safety, along with the rules that you set for their phone.
The U.S.Cellular® Family Protector service provides safety and security
by monitoring your children's location and mobile usage. Review your
child's calls, block websites, restrict apps, and more. Your child can
even send an alert to you with the simple press of a button. Available
on select Smartphone devices.
Discuss how to share photos appropriately. Unfortunately, we live in a day and age when "sexting" and provocative photos are a common theme in teenage life. While you may think your child is above this, having a heart to heart talk with your teen on why this is a bad thing is a very good subject to touch upon. Because one photo can then be shared with thousands of people, and will have a lifelong presence on the internet. The dangers of pornography can then also be broached.
That goes hand and hand with information sharing. Social media should be private accounts only accessible to close friend and family. Remind your teen not to answer unsolicited requests or texts.
Children can be smart about the internet but it takes a parent to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to monitoring them. Which kind of corresponds to all areas of parenting. :)
This post is sponsored by U.S. Cellular Brigade, all opinions are my own.