Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Staying Safe Online

Depending on how you see it, technology can be amazing and helpful, enhancing our learning and imagination. Or, it can be viewed as potentially dangerous and blamed for robbing society of "good old fashion" family fun and togetherness.  However, if integrated into your family life appropriately and in moderation, technology can be enjoyable and beneficial without hindering your family's time together or the ability to communicate effectively.

Let's face it, you can't shelter your child from the technology of today's world, nor should you want to, for fear of them falling behind the "technological learning curve."  It is possible for you and your family to be technologically savvy AND safe.  Parental awareness, understanding, education, and involvement are critical to your child's technology and online safety.  The following are some tips to help "safeguard" your family:

  • Experience technology as a family so that your children can observe and understand responsible usage.

  • Require all technology and media devices be used in common areas where you are readily able to observe.

  • Be "technology literate" so that you "keep up" with your children and understand the newest gadgets.

  • Bookmark your children's favorite websites for easy online access.

  • If you permit your child to use email, create shared family accounts that are always accessible to you.

  • Forbid your children from sharing personal information and pictures online.  Explain that the internet is not a place to meet new friends.

  • If your child reports anything that makes them uncomfortable, talk with your child about the situation.  If necessary, take the appropriate action.

  • Enforce the rule that media/technology usage is a privilege and if not used responsibly, this privilege will be suspended.

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