I am a member of the US Celluler #BetterMoments Blogger Brigade. I am compensated for this post, but all opinions, as always, are my own!
Did you know that June is Internet Safety month? It seems like a great time to have it, right at the beginning of summer, when kids are fresh out of school.
The internet has opened up a whole new world to all of us, especially kids. There are so many learning and social opportunities when it comes to the internet, whether you are taking a new online class, or sharing your latest beach pictures on social media, the internet is right at our fingertips, always.
With almost half of parents (47%*) reporting that their children have cell phones, and the average age of receiving the first cellphone is 12, it is no more important than ever to make sure we are keeping our kids safe, and having that conversation as to what is appropriate and what isn't.
Here are 4 Tips for Internet Safety - for your kids and for you as well!
1.) Make an agreement with your child. I think the best place to start is to have a conversation with your child about what is appropriate when it comes to internet usage, whether that is on their cell phone or tablet, or on the home computer. You need to set expectations, and monitor their usage. Obviously you want to give your child some freedom, and setting the expectation in advance is part of that. By using the US Cellular Parent-Child Agreement you both can sign on what is OK and what is definitely not OK.
2.) Use Protective Apps. The US Cellular Family Protector app provides safety and security by monitoring your child’s location and mobile usage. You can review your child’s calls and texts, block websites and restrict certain apps. Children are even able to send a special alert to their parents if they are in trouble or find themselves in an uncomfortable situation.
3.) Discuss Online Sharing. This is the age of social media. We are constantly sharing information. I know that I love using my iPhone to post Instagram pictures all.the.time. What can I say, I love it. But, we also need to know what is OK to post, and what we should definitely not post. I like to tell my kids that once they put something on the internet, it will always be there. They may not think about it right now, but in 10 years, they may be rethinking what they put out there! It is something that I am constantly thinking about as a blogger as well. You don’t want to share personal information, where you live, your phone number. Some of this stuff seems common sense, but kids really don’t think about it in the same way. If you have the conversation, they will be more likely to resist the urge to share something that should remain private.
4.) Share photos appropriately. This is similar to above. You don’t want to post inappropriate photos. You also don’t want to post photos that can easily identify your kids’ location.
The bottom line is to have open communication with your children. Don’t forget to download the Parent-Child Agreement to help get the conversation started. And keep talking. Open communication with your kids is extremely important in everything, not just internet usage.
What ground rules do you lay out for internet usage? Does it change once summer arrives? How old was your child when they received their first cell phone?
*According to a recent US Cellular Survey.