Everyone tells us to monitor our kids online, but no one seems to tell us how- until now. Thanks to Dr. Michele Borba for sharing her cyber monitoring tips on the Today show and on the web.
It’s estimated that online time has increased threefold in the last ten years. And even young kids spend a significant amount of time on line. Here’s the killer: “64 percent of teens say they do things online that they wouldn’t want their parents to know about”. So this is not a situation that parents can ignore.
First among Dr. Borba’s cyber safety suggestions is the establishment of clear internet rules, posted at or next to the computer so they remain top of mind:
- Never meet the people off line that you’ve met online
- Everything you do the computer is public and everyone can see it and you can’t make it go away after it’s out there
- never give out personal information that can make it easy for someone to find you- including your phone number, address, S/S #, passwords, etc.
Research has now shown that when kids are AWARE that their online activities are being monitored by parents, they behave differently. So tell them, and let them see that you’re checking up on them. Use the ‘walk-by’ rule, where anytime you see them covering the screen, closing the screen, turning it off as you approach- privileges are revoked.
Learn the slang that alerts their friends that parents are in the room – a pretty good indicator that the conversation is something they don’t want you to hear. Be where your kids are online- if they use Twitter or Facebook, you need to be there. Let them know you’re there, ask to be friended so you can keep track and tell them that’s what you’ll be doing. Don’t cross the line and become invasive or visible and they likely won’t object. Keep the internet and phone out of the bedroom after lights out- where you can’t monitor.
Dr. Borba has many more important tips for keeping your kids safe online, including signs to watch for that might indicate cyber-bullying. Read her post- this is important.