1. BE INVOLVED!
Take an interest in your son/daughter’s participation in online activities. Your involvement is the single most effective tool to keep your kids safe, happy, and healthy online.
2. Model Appropriate Behavior
Your kids are incredibly observant. They watch what you do more than listen to what you say. Don’t text and drive. Turn off your phone during family dinners or special events.
3. Let Your Children Teach You
Ask your child to show you how to navigate through the school’s resources. They feel empowered and you will be more informed. If they aren’t sure how to use the resources, help guide them. Encourage your students to log into Skyward and Schoology daily to keep track of their own progress.
5. Create Ground Rules
If your kids are old enough to be using the computer on their own, they are old enough to understand that there are rules they need to abide by. Breaking them should not have a lesser consequence than if they broke a rule in the offline world. The best way for families to agree on ground rules is to create a contract that all parties must sign. The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) encourages parents and kids to have an open discussion about what these rules mean.
6. Get To Know Your Child’s Habits
You don’t need to be a super sleuth and spy on your kid’s every online move, but it is important to be aware of the kinds of sites he/she is frequenting and the people he/she is associating with. You get to know the friends they are hanging out with at school, and their online friends shouldn’t be any different. One of the contract rules should be that you have full access to his Facebook friends and can take a look whenever you wish.
7. Keep the Computer in a Central Location
It’s much easier to keep tabs on any online activity when the computer is located in a high-traffic zone than if your child is using a computer in the privacy of her own room. Place the computer in a central location like your kitchen or family room so that everything is out in the open. Cell phones and computers should not be in children’s bedrooms past bedtime. Find a place to store in a common area. Many of the cyberbullying instances happen during late hours.
8. Monitor the Pictures Your Child Posts Online
In an ideal world, your child would never post a photo of himself/herself online or over text messaging, but that might not be entirely realistic. If he/she wants to share photos with his/her friends via email, text or a social networking site, be sure you know exactly which pictures are being posted. Make sure the content of the photo is completely innocuous and that no identifiable locales in the background are noticeable. Asking your son/daughter to randomly see the photos on their phone is a helpful monitoring tool.
9. Be a Good Example of How to Use Social Media
If you are tweeting and updating your Facebook page at a stop light and taking every opportunity to “just check something,” you’re setting a poor precedent for social media usage that your child will surely follow.
10. Limit Cell Phone Use
Just as you would limit use of a computer, TV or gaming system, you can do the same with a cell phone. Set rules for the device, only allowing cell phone usage at certain hours in the evening or after homework has been completed.
11. Teach Kids about an Online Reputation
Many kids don’t seem to understand the permanence of the online world. Make sure to stress to your kids what a digital footprint is and the impact inappropriate messages or images could have if a future college administrator or employer were to stumble upon them. As stated in the AAP study, what goes online stays online.
Tips taken from Common Sense Media: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/.