Family Friendly Technology
How many of you have kids who are tech savvy? All of us? They seem to just grasp it and know how to use it the minute the gadget is out of the box! Yet, we need to be in charge when it comes to their online safety, so here are some useful tips in regards to outsmarting the tech savvy teens:
Set up clear internet use rules - define in simple terms what is allowed and clearly and specifically what is NOT and what the consequences will be for breaking the rules.
Computer placement - critical thing in monitoring everybody's usage (even husbands). Place your family computer in a common area in the house, be it kitchen, dining room, family room or family office. Not in kids' bedroom!
Use parental controls - every Mac and PC (WIN7 & 8) and most smartphones, music players and tablets, come with built-in parental controls. Set them according to your children age, very restrictive for younger users, less so for teenagers. Monitor their usage and make it known that you are doing it!
Use user profiles - setup a profile for each member of your family to better separate everybody's files as well as prevent digital accidents (Mom, I just put everything in trash, don't you love when I help clean! Want me to take out the trash? - Nooooooooooo!)
Continue to talk to the kids - I think this is the most important tip. You know your kids the best and having an honest and open approach to online safety is the best way to teach them how to be a good cyber citizen. When you talk to them openly, they will be willing to share more about their cyber adventures and you will know when they are pulling your leg or something is fishy!
Learn more about online safety - there are excellent resources available online that cover this subject in great detail. Here are some of them: NetSmartz, NSTeens, OnGuard Online, Family Online Safety Institute and a great site suggested by one of our young readers: Cyber Security Tips for Teens