The internet is becoming more and more prevalent in our homes. Just 20 years ago, it was very uncommon for anyone to have a computer in their homes (remember that one guy who said no one would ever have a personal computer in their homes?). Nowadays, computers are everywhere: in laptops, desk tops, smart phones and even certain iPods. Getting on the internet has never been easier.
Being able to access information at the touch of the button has made life wonderful. You can quickly look up a quick fact to settle a bet, find cheap flights and scan barcodes to find the best deal. You can instantly update your whereabouts on Facebook and send a quick email to a friend. The possibilities are endless.
However, all good things have bad qualities. Is it really that great to have such immediate access to the internet?
It is so easy for kids to access anything on the internet, and that includes sites that parents would rather their kids avoid such as pornography and other suggestive sites. But how can your child safe when there is a good chance he or she is accessing internet on a small portable device like an iPod touch.
There is no one way to determine what will work for your family, but here are some tips on how to stop the internet from invading your home.
- Get involved. As a parent, you need to know what sites your kids are spending time on and how long. This will keep you in the loop which will help you keep tabs. If your child is on Facebook, get on their too. No, you shouldn’t constantly write ‘i love yous’ on your kids wall for many obvious reasons, but connecting on Facebook will give you an inside look into your kids real life. This is a really easy and non-invasive way to get involved. Monitor how much time is spent on the internet. Just like other sedentary activities like watching TV or playing video games, too much sitting and staring at a screen is bad for your kid.
- Get smart. Keeping your kids away from troubling sites on the internet needs to be calculated. First, keep any technological devices in a public area or make a rule that any electronics can be used if the bedroom door is open. Next, add on filtering software to all devices that can access the internet. This software can block any site that you choose, or any type of site in general. There is another great software that will limit the time that can be site on any particular site. This will limit the total screen time your kid can have without you constantly nagging.
- Get talking. The fact is your kids will find a way to access things on the internet. But you can nip it in the bud with an open dialogue about things that are OK and things that are not OK to look at on the internet. Be very clear and specific about what is acceptable and what is not.