Tips for WAHM on Safely Letting Your Kids Play on the Computer
Erin Steiner is a full-time freelance writer who has covered a variety of topics from gutter styles to small business topics and everything in between.
Don’t you wish it could be like this forever?
There are some distinct challenges to being a member of the WAHM squad. Namely, keeping your kids entertained while you try to get some work done and trying to explain why it’s okay for you to be on the computer unsupervised but it isn’t okay for them.
Obviously there are things that you can do that are practical:
- Only allowing younger children to use the family computer
- Keeping the family computer in a highly trafficked area so that you have an excuse to walk by and check on them every now and then
- Setting up rules and time limits for how much time they can spend online and what sites they can visit unsupervised
Here are some things that you can do to make it safer for your kids to play on the computer—even when you aren’t available to look over their shoulder.
Talk to Your Kids
Obviously you need to have the “do not talk to anybody you do not already know, no matter how friendly that person seems or who they say they are” talk. Beyond this, however, it’s good to talk about how varied and diverse the web can be. You don’t need to go into gory detail, but if you want your kids to follow the rules you set, you’ll explain to them why you set those rules.
To this end: Ask your kids what they’re looking at. Make sure they know that they can talk to you and ask you questions about everything they do online. Encourage them to talk to you about the things they see that confuse, worry, or even upset them.
This is not the expression you want your kids to have when they use the Internet!
Set Up Parental Filters
Parental filters were invented for a reason. It’s okay to install them. After all, the last thing you want is an open and unfiltered Google available the next time your son decides to look up “playboy games” the next time he’s bored and wants to play games aimed at his demographic, right?
Social Networking Safely
A lot of parents are allowing their kids to have Facebook pages even before they meet the minimum age requirements set forth by the site. On one hand, this can be a good way to start introducing your kids to the web and letting them test the “unsupervised waters.” On the other, you know from firsthand experience how addicting and sometimes surprising social media can be. It’s up to you whether or not you want to abide by the minimum age rules. It’s also a good idea to set rules up, like “you can only friend people you already know in real life” and to monitor their pages yourself.
What it all boils down to is communicating openly with your kids, no matter how young or old they are. If you have open communication with your kids and you trust each other, you should have relatively few problems allowing your kids to go online without your having to constantly look over their shoulders.
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