You’ve elected to give your child a computer because, let’s face it, schools and their social life have made it basically impossible not to. The question is now what? Should they be given free reign or should you utilize parental control? Is it enough to trust them with Internet safety or should you take steps to make sure they don’t have access to the dark corners of the Internet? Finding the balance between the two extremes can be difficult. However, though challenging, we know how important it is that doing so is done the right way. Here are our suggestions for how to best deal with your child’s new possession of a computer.
First, mandate that your child only use the computer in a family area. This is a great way to keep your child honest about what he or she is doing on the computer regardless of whether or not you’ve elected to use parental control. By making this simple rule, your child is much more unlikely to look up inappropriate content, and it puts them more on their guard against content that may not be appropriate since they know others will be able to see what they’re looking at.
Second, have a conversation with your child about what good Internet safety looks like. From not downloading anything that may be a virus to making them realize that what you post on the Internet is forever, it’s important that you have an open conversation with your child about appropriate Internet usage. Because they are in the beginning stages of learning to use the Internet a lot of potential mistakes can be avoided just by having an earnest conversation about how the Internet should be used.
Third, have your child’s passwords if they’re going to be using social media. This may seem a bit Big Brother, but in the end it can be a useful tool to make sure that your child isn’t posting anything they shouldn’t. This comes in handy especially for younger children who may have not yet grasped what is and is not appropriate for posting online.
Fourth, utilize the software at your disposal. Whether it be software you pay for or one of the free options, there are many monitoring programs out there that can help you keep track of what your child is doing on the Internet. Not only do these programs block and alert you if your child tries to access forbidden information, but they also allow you to limit your child’s screen time. This is significant because it prevents your child from spending copious amounts of time on their new computer.
All in all, giving your child a computer doesn’t have to be scary. There are many tools out there to help you give your child a safe experience with the Internet, and having a plan for how you’ll monitor their usage can be incredibly useful in the fight to protect them against the potential evils of the Internet. So, give your child the best the Internet has to offer and keep them away from the bad using our tips for what to do once your child has a computer.
By: Dabney Bragg