It’s that time of year again when kids start having more time off from school (Thanksgiving, snow days, winter break) and more time to spend online. Add to the mix the frenzied holiday schedules that parents are busy coordinating, and it may seem impossible to be able to effectively monitor what our kids are doing online during this busy time. But by setting some ground rules and encouraging time away from the computer, parents can still make sure their kids are being safe and responsible online during this holiday season.
One ground rule could be to encourage social networking and other online activities to be done in open, shared areas of the house. This will ensure that kids are going on appropriate sites, and also let you monitor anything that has been downloaded onto the family computer. Also remember to remind your kids that even though they have time off from school, peers or classmates will still be online and can post potentially cruel or inappropriate comments on others’ profiles. The scariest part about cyberbullying is that it doesn’t stop when kids are away from school. Lastly, emphasize to your kids the importance of keeping personal information online private. There is a huge surge in online shopping and special discounts or deals during the holiday season and kids can be easily tricked into sharing information that outside parties should not have.
While there’s no way to completely protect our kids against different online threats, establishing rules and guidelines for online use – and monitoring when we can – will help our kids stay safe during this busy time of the year!
What kinds ofoffline activities do you encourage your kids to do when they have school vacations?