Sunday, May 13, 2012

Driving in the Cyber Lanes - Lesson 3 Protection Against Cyber Bullying!

Lesson Three - Monitor the use of the technology!

Once adults have established a Family Internet Use Agreement, it is necessary to monitor the use of technology. What good is an agreement if there is no enforcement of rules or expectations?  Parents and guardians, do not think of this as "spying" or "invading your child's privacy".  This is responsible parenting!  This is how we protect our children!

Many adults say, "We put the computer in our den where everyone can see it."  Or, "Our kids have to leave their bedroom doors open so we can see what they are doing."  This is a start, but it is not enough!  Parents and guardians, you have the "right" to see where your child is spending time and with whom.  Sit down with them on a weekly basis and check to see where they are going and what they are doing with their technology.  It is being used in the ways agreed upon?  If so, great!  If  not, talk about what is going on, review the family agreement, and implement reasonable consequences. DO NOT take away the technology or ground them from it!  This does nothing to change the behavior and it teaches them to be more careful about their indiscretions. The whole point is to teach our kids how to be responsible with their technology.  A few other tips include the following.

1.As children test this issue or push back, weigh the children's right to privacy with your right to monitor. Again, explain the importance of protecting them. Caring for their safety is your responsibility as a parent or guardian.

2. As children age and develop, revisit the monitoring issue as needed.  However, do not stop monitoring! The older children become and the more proficient they are with their technology, the more at risk they are for cyber harm or the more they are likely to inflict cyber harm.

3. Use the children's track record as your guide in monitoring.  Have they been responsible?  Good.  Affirm them and validate them.  Continue to monitor on a consistent basis.  Have they been irresponsible, flirting with risky online behaviors, or hiding information from you?  Stop and talk with them about what they are writing and how it impacts others!  Increase your monitoring.  Be consistent!  Let them know that when their behaviors become more healthy and appropriate, they will earn back more freedom. 

Parents and guardians, if there were no law enforcement in place to enforce the rules of the road, undoubtedly no one would obey them!  This is just how human nature works. They same logic applies to monitoring technology! If your children know you are not going to check their online activities or behavior, they will venture out into unsafe territory and they will be put in harm's way.

Be the parent or guardian your kids want you to be - even when they don't seem to want it! They will still love you.

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