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We live in an internet age and if you don’t know what your children are doing when they are online, it can be pretty scary. I have a pre-teen soon to be teenager which is pretty scary itself as we are stepping into a new parenting era. As kids we did not have access to the internet until I was in high school. We didn’t even have our own computer until the last year of high school, I was always going to my friend’s house to type up my papers. I remember working on an essay with a friend and we were taking turns using her typewriter.
I also had a pager in high school, my only means of communication. Remember when you had to ensure that you had a quarter to go to a payphone and return a call. Or if you did have a cell phone, it was the size of a pencil case. Children don’t know how good they have it. I showed a picture of the old rotary phone to my kids and I had to explain to them how to use it.
Technology has come a long way and who knows what else they’re going to come up with.
Are you as parents internet savvy?
Every household will have their own rules about how much screen time your children will have. As homeschoolers, we ensure that school work is completed before they are allowed to use the computer or play video games. My eighth grader earns minutes for video game time, something that he enjoys working for.
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There is no way that I could allow my young children on the computer to range free as they please. Our computer is in a common area and my young children are only allowed to visit pre-approved sites that we’ve saved for them. My 12 year old has more freedom. He has a laptop that he has access to but we are fully aware of what he uses it for since we can always check what his history to see what he has been doing.
We discussed with him all of the inappropriate material that he wasn’t allowed to watch, as a fan of Youtube, he loves watching videos about video games. There are a lot videos that can lead else where so he also has a filter in place so that he can’t access adult material.
There is a certain time when the laptop needs to be off and should there be any misuse of the laptop he will lose it. We wanted him to know upfront what we expected of him so there were no surprises.
Are your kids internet savvy?
Just as though you’d advise your child to not speak to strangers, we have to implement the same rules to the online community. We’ve discussed that people may not be who they say they are so we always use an alias when signing up for different communities online. We never give out our real name, address, phone number, school, or location.
We also discussed that other than us, there should be no sharing of passwords with anyone else. This prevents any type of identity fraud or misuse of your account by others.
Are your kids social media savvy?
My son has asked for a Facebook account so that he could connect with some family members and friends but at this time it’s not happening. I use it to access my blogging and promotion groups but it can be a time suck if not careful. We have chosen to allow him to keep in touch with his friends via email.
He loves to create videos and he would like to upload them to Youtube as well. As long as they are not personal videos I’m ok with it. I think that in this day in age, a lot can be gained from social media because I’m on there as well. It’s great to network and it opens opportunities for you and if you are thinking of opening a business, it’s a must.
I want to ensure that his experience is a positive one but I’m not naive and I know that we have to discuss cyberbullying. Online comments can be harsh because it can be made anonymously so people don’t hold back.
This is the one reason I haven’t let him open a Youtube account, some of those comments can get down right nasty. If he does, I think I’ll ask him to disable them.