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Games. Social media. YouTube. Parents need to know how to protect their kids online while kids interact with others and seek entertainment through the Internet.

The Internet can be a useful tool, especially when kids need to research for school projects and assignments, read news, and communicate with friends. As much as good comes from the internet, the Internet is not without dangers to kids.

How about your kids?

Parents should understand how to use technology for themselves, be informed of various Internet protection sites, and make effective Internet rules for kids. Tonya shared some Internet safety tips for kids:

Internet Safety Rules

  1. Each child has their own profile and we have set the parental controls to only allow 1 ½ hours of time and their profile will only work between the hours of 9:30AM and 9:30PM (We set that).  The computer will not allow them to log in after hours without our password.  (We have a Mac).

  2. If our children want more computer time, then they must do physical exercise (outside, cleaning, games, etc.) which equals time for time.  (½  hour of basketball = ½ more of computer time).

  3. We must be home for the computer to be used.

  4. We have parental pass codes for the other electronic devices.  So, for example the apps cannot be downloaded without the code that only we know.  

  5. All electronics get turned in to Mom and Dad every evening at 9:30 PM, unless there is a date or a night out, etc.  Then they get turned in when they check in to our bedroom at curfew. Electronics get charged in our room then.  

How to Trust Kids with Internet

Now, children are SMART!  They are technologically advanced and we realize this, so there has to be some amount of trust there.  We try to keep them informed on the troubles we see, hear and read about.  We put our trust in them and learn about the computer from them.  Yes, they go to their friends' house and have internet time there, but we try to encourage good friends that will keep the same standards.  

When Internet Safety Rules Are Broken

Now, there are those times that come up when you find out that someone has gone somewhere they shouldn't or the curiosity and searching brought up some inappropriate picture or ad.  We have encouraged our children to tell us what they see and when it happened. There are some really great filters out there, but some junk still comes through. When that happens, we try to discuss how we need to be so careful and aware as to where we go and what we surf for.  It hasn't happened very often, but there have been times when someone has tried to be sneaky about the rules, like not exercising and then  asking for more time; when that happens they get their computer privileges taken away for a time.  For example, no computer that week.  

One more thought: I have a friend that has a wonderful rule in her home that I wish I would have thought about when my children were young. She has a No Screen Day once a week. For example, Tuesday might be the day where there is no screen time for anyone. No TV, no computer, no IPods, phones, Nintendo, etc. The time must be used on books, games, or other activities. I love that idea.   

About Tonya:  

Most of the time, I don't sit still for very long; although,  a good book can catch me every time.  I love people; I love to be with them, talk to them, learn from them, and laugh with them. Utah is home to me now, though I grew up in Las Vegas and consider Florida another home, being where my relatives live and I spent many a summers and college there.  What am I doing in the cold winters of Utah!?  I do love the mountains and  hiking them makes me happy.  My children will attest to many days of a wake up announcing that we are going on a hike today.  :)  Okay, I have heard the groans, but I hope one day they will remember that those were/are great memories.   If I am home, you will find me in the yard with the chickens and the garden, in the kitchen cooking, or on the couch with a good book.  I have so many favorites, that it is hard to pick just one, but I would recommend Without Offense by Dr. John Lund  or These is My Words by Nancy Turner.  I do work part time teaching physio-neuro therapy.  I do that by pure choice as it is another love (back to the working with people thing).  :)  My children (4 of them) are a big source of happiness.  They have their challenges just like any of us; they give us challenges, but they are growing and learning and using their talents for good. My husband is a big, tall teddy bear.  He makes us laugh and keeps us entertained.  If I could choose a vacation spot, I would pick a beach to relax by or a place in the mountains to hike and adventure.   I enjoy exercise.  I don't know if that is a confession of guilt or if I am just crazy.  I wish I could write and journal more and that I had creative talent to make my words flow like a good book.  Maybe one day; for now I do write in my journal and I try to keep up on the good and the bad to make it something my children will one day look back and learn from and hopefully posterity.  I asked my husband what he thought were good words to describe me for this and his first word was “motivated”.  Ha.  (Remember the hiking and exercise comment)  :)  The next two words were “clean” and “loving”.  That makes me smile, because I sure don't want to be dirty and mean.  :)  

Written by — March 20, 2014

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