The internet is a wonderful educational tool that children are increasingly expected to use to support their learning … As a modern parent, it is your responsibility to protect your children from online as well as offline dangers. — Taylor Anderson
Parental supervision is necessary, but how do you do that when you need to be at work? You talk and teach digital citizenship.
What is digital citizenship? It is a way of thinking online, being safe, acting responsibly. Parents need to supervise their children’s use of their devices by checking what sites they are visiting and how much time they are spending on their devices.
If you type into the search area on your computer how to monitor your children’s internet use, you will find a wide variety of sources you can use. You can even check remotely from your own phone. Be sure to check the comment sections on these sites also because other parents are willing to share their ways of checking.
To save you time, here are some of those ideas. You can check the browser history on your children’s devices. In Internet Explorer, use the “Tools” menu. In Chrome, you need to press the wrench button in the top right corner and select “History.”
There is software available through www.safetyweb.com which monitors your children’s use of Facebook and Twitter. For this, you will need your children’s email addresses. When this site detects explicit content on the websites your children are visiting, it sends you an alert. It also detects cyberbullying either by your child or your child as a victim.
www.socialshield.com is another site which helps you monitor your children’s social networking accounts and lets you know when there is suspicious activity from peers or adults. This is a paid service.
www.gomcgruff.com allows you to remotely monitor your children’s conversations and translates their “language” so parents can understand.
In a recent webinar I attended, Heather Bernard suggested this SUMMER Plan: (S) Stay positive online; be kind; (U) Understand possible safety issues; (M) Monitor “plugged in” time — headaches, moodiness and overly tired due to too much digital usage; (M) Mention to your children that they should contact you or another adult to whom they can report unsafe situations they encounter online; (E) Engage your children in using the internet to create rather than consume. They can draw pictures or compile photos to make a family photo album or slideshow; (R) Respect the privacy of others. Your children should not pass on comments made by others without their permission.
Parents can do other kinds of things, like turning off the WiFi access when you go to work. However, the most important thing you can do is talk to your children. Explain why it is important for you and them to be safe online, letting your children know why you don’t want them on certain sites and explaining what kind of behavior is appropriate while social networking.
http://www.techaddiction.com helps you to know if you or your children are addicted to smartphones or technology and suggests ways to curb your usage.
As parent, you MUST be in control!
Southern Arizona resident Bette Mroz is a former teacher, reading specialist and principal. As a mother and grandmother, she continues to help her family learn. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org