The older our kids get, the more boundaries we have to place on the internet. The internet is a wonderful thing, but one mis-type or curiosity search can lead places that we don’t want our kids to be online.
My husband was home with my daughter on President’s Day. I was at work, my phone buzzed – looked down to find an email from my daughter, who’s 6. Her daddy hooked her up with her very own gmail account. How sweet.
Until I start getting emails like this:
That evening I received 2 emails regarding Z and her new account.
Who knew, my daughter was a spammer, except her intention is good and not to make money!
Something I never thought of was having to teach my children to email. With email being the new form of letter writing, it has to be taught. This includes limiting the number of bouncing icons, fonts, font sizes and colors!
Here are some basic guidelines my husband and I laid out for our kids using the web:
As much as I hate micro-managers, I’ve become a micro-managing parent when it comes to the digital space. Part of my job is working with teen girls in social media. The lack of understanding of how PUBLIC they are and how what they put online has a lasting effect does not seem to phase most teens. While I am sure my kids will make mistakes, we’re going to at least try to get them started on the right foot.
Something that I want for my kids is no fear of technology. I honestly believe they have the knowledge to do things because they don’t know they can’t. They will try, ask and learn how to do something because they just know it can be done. While my parents may have a hard time downloading pictures off of a camera or setting up a printer, teaching my children to do these things while they are young will only help leverage their knowledge and build their motivation to learn more. Hence the difference between a digital native and a digital immigrant.
There Are Somethings the Internet Shouldn’t Teach.
Yes, I’ve learned a lot of what I know (or think I know) from the internet, but somethings should be taught by parents. With Google at my kids’ fingertips they can learn things way before i’m ready. We have to be prepared for this. I don’t want to limit my kids abilities BUT – I think knowledge of certain things at a young age needs to be limited.
Our daughter loves Tinkerbell – so when innocently searching FAIRY GAMES – she came across some interesting web sites. One of those web sites gave her computer a lovely virus.
We now use Open DNS. This allows us to put limits on what they can see and access online.
This tip just in from my new friend @cybersafefamily
Tip: When setting up email for kids, don’t use their name in the address, use generic.
Check out her site at: cybersafefamily.com