When most of us were born, the internet wasn’t even around. We didn’t have to worry about email spam, phishing scams, or online predators. So this Internet thing is a concept that even we, as mothers, are still trying to grasp, while our children are growing up with it, using it in schools, and even communicating to each other through it.
Even if our kids are way ahead of the game than we are, we can still take precautions with their Internet use. It is important to remember that restricting certain websites will only make children more curious about them, so talking to them instead will establish a respectful and honest relationship between you and your child, and encourage your child to come back to ask questions more often. The following are topics about the Internet that you can address with your child.
The hot topic right now, especially with Facebook’s ever-changing policies, is the issue of privacy. You should warn your child about the dangers of putting too much information online, without being threatening. Ask if you can sit down with your child to look at their privacy settings on Facebook. There may be a lot of jargon on there that they don’t understand, and that you will be able to change.
Also tell them not to put up any personal information in public spaces. This includes email address, phone number, where they’re going, or where they go to school.
Our children idolize so many celebrities that they sometimes mimic their actions, attitude, and dress. While this could be a good or bad thing, the way they portray themselves online should be discussed. In the real world, employers look up prospective employees online to see how they manage their own image. Suggestive pictures, questionable posts, and other inappropriate content could break a deal for an otherwise decent job candidate. People must learn to control their online presence by monitoring and censoring what they put up online.
Getting your children into this habit early is a quality they can use throughout the rest of their lives. Teach them that anything they put up should not upset or bother Grandma. This usually works, even for adults.
3. What Kids at Age ____ Should be Doing
Let your child know what you think he or she should be doing online, based on his or her age. For a seven-year-old, playing games online is appropriate, but definitely not online dating. For teenagers, tell them it’s okay to read about their favorite celebrities, but watch out for “bad” sites. If their gut is telling them something is not right, they should probably get away from it, or come and get you to look at it first.
Ads can sometimes be tricky to the untrained eye. Teach your child to look for disclaimers on ads, such as the words “Sponsored” or “Advertisement.”
Also never teach them to respond to emails from people they don’t know, or even suspicious emails from people they do know. As said before, if their gut is telling them something is not right, get away from it or go ask you.
The Internet is a valuable resource that many of us rely on today. But it should be approached with caution, especially for the younger generations of Internet users. That’s why as parents, we should follow this technology and teach our kids the importance of using the Internet with precaution.
This was a Guest Post contributed by Author: Carrie L.
Bio: Carrie is an old fashion mid-western mother of two who spends her spare time teaching middle school history. In addition to the never ending task of raising “Daisy” and “Ice Man” (Dad got to pick one of the nicknames…), Carrie enjoys contributing her unique thoughts and opinions to parenting and travel blogs.