Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Parenting in the Internet Age

Facebook, blogging, Twitter, email, texting. How is a parent supposed to keep up with all of the technology available to children and teens in today’s world? Many parents and children struggle with safety on the Internet. Although there are no easy answers, some simple steps can help keep you and your child safe.

First, and most important: all of the things that make a good parent in everyday life also make a good parent on the Internet. Spend time with your child in their daily life and spend time with them learning about what they do online. Educate yourself on your child’s school and social life. In the same way, educate yourself about the websites they visit and who they are talking to online.

In addition, keep their access to technology limited and in public settings. Put the computer in the kitchen or the living room – in other words, in a place where secrecy is difficult and monitoring is easy. Online time should only come after homework and other activities are done for the day. Also, talk about what they are doing online, but do not invade their privacy by reading emails unless absolutely necessary. If you suspect dangerous things are happening by or to your child online, then invading their privacy may be necessary. Otherwise, encourage open communication and respect their privacy.

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