My five and ten-year-old boys love their iPads. When they get screen time, they make the most of it. Despite having different tastes, PBS Kids for my younger son and NFL Madden 15 for my older boy, one thing they love to do together (which for a parent is pretty special) is making their own home movies. Their five-minute movies run the gamut from super heroes and haunted bedrooms to random silliness.
Recently, after creating another one of their Saturday afternoon movies, my younger son came rushing downstairs calling my name. Handing me his iPad he said, “Dad, we just made an awesome movie, and we want to put it on YouTube so everyone can see it.” Right then, the world stopped. Thoughts of strangers viewing home videos of my boys and somehow communicating with them rushed through my head like an old-school brain freeze.
This was a wake-up call.
Controlling the apps and TV shows your kids consume does not control natural curiosity and instinct, but rather helps introduce kids to multimedia and technology responsibly.
So how do you allow your child to explore the Internet in a way that’s safe?
Tips For Setting Guidelines For Internet Safety In Your Home:
- Develop a list of Internet rules for your child and discuss together
- Surf the Internet with your child and have them show you the websites he/she visits
- Be sure your child knows never to send personal information such as home address, phone number and name of school he/she attends to anyone online
- Before posting photos or videos online have your child consult with you and use this as a teaching moment for what's acceptable and what's not
- Stress the importance of not communicating with strangers online and never agreeing to meet anyone from the Internet in person
- If something or someone online makes your child feel uncomfortable on an app or online, make sure they know to let you or another trusted adult know immediately
- When it comes to installing software or anything on a computer or smartphone, be sure you are made aware and have a chance to make the decision with your child
- Teach your child the importance of keeping passwords secret