Creating digital rules and guidelines our children should abide by should be, I believe, a staple in every home. Why? Simply because technology plays a vital role in our daily lives and there should and needs to be limits set for kids who believe they can do and say whatever online without consequences.
It is important as parents to set digital boundaries for our kids, whether on a computer, laptop, tablet or other mobile device.
I have already begun to set limits to my almost five year old. He is only allowed to use the tablet for an allotted period of time, and he is under no circumstances allowed to go onto YouTube without me being with him. There is entirely too much inappropriate content on that site, that with just a few clicks he can go from watching Sesame Street to watching Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines.
What is the purpose of digital agreements?
First, it lays all the cards out on the table. It encourages safety, avoids any possible disputes and most importantly holds kids accountable for their actions.
It also holds us, the parent, accountable, as well. Why? Because, in this day, it is not okay for any parent to not know how modern technology works. There is no excuse for not learning about the tools your kids are using.
Remember when Janell Burley Hofmann, a freelance writer and mom who wrote up a contract for her teenage son when he received an iPhone as a gift? Read the full contract here.
Her rules were clearly outlined. She addressed the importance of sexting, digital etiquette and balance.
Parents should lead by example and setting such standards for everyone in the family allows kids to see the importance of what we are doing. Contracts are just the beginning; we must always monitor, enforce and follow through with our claims.
Here are just a few benefits of providing children with digital contracts.
- Get to know the sites your kids are using
- Set rules and guidelines for computer use by your children
- Teach your kids about digital etiquette
- ALWAYS monitor what they are doing, sites they are visiting.
- Don’t be judgmental. If your child comes to you with a problem they are having online, be open-minded and help them through the issue.
- Computers should not be used as e-babysitters
- Get to know who your kids online friends are the same way you would get to know them in person
- Teach kids about the dangers of ‘meeting’ someone they have met online
- Teach them about cyber bullying, the consequences and effects Have your kids check with you before downloading or installing any software
If you are looking for ways to get your family on board, check out this sample if a Family Policy for Digital Devices from .docstoc.