Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Driving in the Cyber Lanes - Lesson 2 Protection Against Cyber Bullying!

Parents, Guardians, and Youth...


Lesson Two - It is mandatory that parents/guardians establish an "internet use agreement" with their children."


I know you might be thinking, "What?"  "Are you kidding me?"  "No way!"  Hold on everyone!
Think back for just a minute to our analogy on driving.  There are tons of rules that we must all abide by and for good reason.  They are there for our safety and protection and for that of others as well. Without driving rules or regulations, there would be chaos and everyone would be put into harm's way.

If we are indeed serious about protecting our children from cyber harm, we must implement this lesson.  There are many great examples of internet use agreements on line.  One example can be found at www.safekids.com/family-contract-for-online-safety (see below). It is a free download.  It is easy to understand and to implement.  All members of the family participate in the agreement - not just children.

If families want to be creative, it is also a great idea design your own family contract.  However, refer to an example to make sure that your agreement covers what is needed.  By drafting your own agreement, children (both younger and more mature) tend to have more of a sense of "buy-in."  As the kids grow and accept responsibility for their on-line behaviors, amend the agreement to reflect their maturity.

If your children break the contract or get involved in unhealthy cyber behaviors, the agreement is there to assist you in moving forward with consequences. More importantly, it will provide an opportunity to have a discussion about healthy and appropriate behaviors before additional harm is caused. In other words, it is an excellent communication tool!

Parents and guardians, don't cave in on this lesson!  Again, be strong.  Be the adult your children want and need you to be. You won't regret it!

Family Online Internet Safety Contract  (Sample - free download!)

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