Today’s kids are different from our time. Computer technology especially Internet is easily access for them, be it from home, school, library or friend’s house. There are pros and cons about Internet for the kids, some said it bring a negative impact on their study. They tend to loose focus and concentration on their study. Furthermore there are reported cases of serious cyber bullying as well as cyber predator.
As parents, is it advisable we decide to shut off the Internet in order to avoid all these unwanted problem to our child life? Probably Yes, but this is just temporary solution, kids being kids, peer pressure and influence can carry the same weight as parent’s influence. This is more dangerous and uncontrollable.
Therefore in my opinion, it is better to educate our child with the Internet awareness just like we educate them about sex, racial issue and all other social aspect that is happening around us. There are some tips that I can share.
1. Install Parental Control software for security. I recommend McFee, it has a ready plugins for the parental control. All we need to do is install the software and set up the setting. The setting can go down into the words level, we can ban the access for certain site that contains specific words. And this can be set by user log in. I mostly shut down YouTube access to my kid’s login. If she wants to go to you tube she needs to consult with me.
2. Discuss with your child what is consider private site and what is not! Kids need to know this. There is no point of hiding it from them. The access is opened for them where ever they can connect to the internet in unsecured environment. Plain and straight! This site is NO!!! That site is OK!! We need to be opened here to our kids, get down to their level when explaining this.
3. Point out to them what are the good things they can dig out from the internet to help them selves with their discovery or school work. It is not only related to Games! But a lot more than that. There are so much good knowledge sharing and educational site for kids with secured environment.
4. When you set their own Facebook account, Twitter or LinkedIn for example, pay attention on the privacy saving. Try to keep everything private as much as possible. What they share on public should be very minimum, if possible you can highlight on their account, that this account is monitored by parents. Explain to them the danger of internet predator and why it is IMPORTANT to keep their things PRIVATE for the time being.
5. Manage their time to be online. I would say less than 1 hour a day is already too much. I usually do alternate days, just to let her catch up with her games. I let her play in the morning right after she wakes up before she jump up to get ready for school. The time can be short for them cause they need to rush for school.
6. Monitor their friends, who are their friends on the social network circle. Try to be friends with them as well, try to know them better. There is no harm to know who your kids mix around with.
7. Update yourself with the new technology always, try to keep your self in toe. Catch up with what is new and study it a bit so you are aware of any danger side effect that can happened to your kids.
8. DOn’t be SPY to your kids! Respect their privacy still! YOu have to know where to pull or to keep loose. Be wise!
Good Luck! and stay save!