An online contract with your tweens?!

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Playing with a ipad

Wow. I’ve been blogging for more than four years. I really need to update my about section; this blog no longer has anything to do with nappies, fish fingers and endless loads of laundry! Now it’s carting the kids around to five million clubs and trying to get them off You Tube.

All my kids want to do these days is get on the Internet. We’ve tried avoiding it (yah, right), and then severely limiting it. But it’s like trying to put a hose pipe to syphon the Ocean. And why should we try to limit it, there’s so mcuh great content out there for kids. Which brings me to YouTube. My girls love all the craft videos there. My 8-year-old found this one on how to make a swimsuit for a doll out of an old sock! But there are some creeps too! What is a parent to do?

While we were in the US this summer, I picked up “A Smart Girls Guide to the Internet” and I’ve been reading it to all three girls as bedtime reading. You would think they would be bored stiffless, but they are fascinated. I’m glad because it touches on issues I couldn’t quite articulate myself.

The book culminates in and online contract for your kids to sign. The idea is that your kids specifically agree with you what they will and won’t do when they are surfing the net (which is more of a commitment that just telling them what is safe). There are pros and cons to this, and while I’m not sure I will actually have them sign it, it does bring up some excellent discussion points…

Top ten rules for staying safe online

  1. I will not give out any personal information, including my name, address, phone number to anyone. This includes any hints about where you live.
  2. I will tell a parent right away if I find anything on the Internet that makes me feel uncomfortable or scared.
  3. I will never agree to meet anyone I have “met” online unless a parent goes with me.
  4. I will check with a parent before I sent/post a picture of myself online.
  5. I will not send hurtful messages online. If I get one I will not respond, and will tell a parent right away.
  6. I will not give out my Internet password to anyone, except my parents.
  7. I will check with a parent before I download software.
  8. I will ask a parent before I sign up for any accounts online.
  9. I will respect my parents rules for the Internet
  10. I will share my favourite things to do on the Internet with my parents, so we can have fun together.

How do you handle online safety in your household?

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  1. 13/01/2013 / 22:09

    Thanks for this. I really like what you’ve posted here and wish you the best of luck with this blog and thanks for sharing.

  2. maviyan
    21/11/2012 / 15:06

    I’m researching about satisfaction of transportation users too. This website and this post in particular is very helpful.

  3. 15/11/2012 / 07:57

    This post is excellent, keep returning to read the content that is always updated. I am interested in reading more of your stuff.

  4. 11/11/2012 / 22:34

    ‘Facebook is the devil’ that’s so funny, with my two they can only use the Internet in the lounge, kitchen etc not in their bedrooms so I can keep an eye on the screen as I go past.

  5. Fiona Cambouropoulos @coombemill
    07/11/2012 / 23:46

    A great list, I always worry with number one, there is nothing secret about where we live or our phone number!

  6. 06/11/2012 / 21:10

    Some great tips! My 2 are too young for the internet right now but I’ll be bookmarking this for future. Thanks for linking up to Britmums carnival 🙂

  7. 02/11/2012 / 22:17

    This sounds like it’s making an impact on your children which is great. The internet is so incredibly vast and it’s so important we educate our children to be safe when online. I like the last point about sharing with your parents, communication is key.
    Lydia x

  8. HonestMum
    31/10/2012 / 14:41

    Such great rules-think every parent across the land needs these. I will be keeping them for when mine become tweens. Thanks

  9. Tigerinspace
    29/10/2012 / 17:11

    This is really useful. My littlies are too little for this to be an issue yet, and I live in a very tech-savvy household but I do have older nieces and nephews who don’t have particularly tech savvy parents (my sister thinks Facebook is the devil) and they would really benefit from this…

  10. 29/10/2012 / 07:57

    This is great Susanna, and so very important. We haven’t yet run into any issues on the internet but the other day my 14 year old daughter had a text from a guy she had never met, saying something like he was ‘home and wondered what she was up to tonight’. She texted back that she thought he had the wrong number and he tricked her into a short convo. Fortunately she told me after she had replied a couple of times and I told her it was either a scam about money or worse and told her to not reply at all. He texted a couple more times and finally said something about he was ‘trying to get in touch about a job offer’ or some rubbish. I had to have a pretty frank convo with her about phones as well then, when all she thought she had to be careful about was the internet!

  11. 28/10/2012 / 15:39

    Our computers are all out in the open – no computers in the bedroom even for the earlier part of the teen years. My kids’ friends were apparently on their lap tops till the wee hours, which scared the life out of me.
    We also have a rule that if a parent comes along and the computer user quickly closes a page, the page has to be re-opened to show the parent.
    Most of the time though, we just make sure that they’re on the computer in the same room as a parent.

  12. 28/10/2012 / 10:38

    YouTube is a big problem. We have the rule that they can’t choose something new to watch on YouTube after finishing something else, but they can on Netflix and iPlayer (because they’re in the kids’ bits already). RoRo has now discovered Google and Bing search, too, though, so there’s a whole other problem. We have the safe search set on, but there’s still stuff (whether inappropriate content, or just dodgy malware) that comes up.
    I definitely agree that it’s important to teach them how to stay safe online, rather than try to ban/limit their time online because, as you say, it’s their future and they need to be conversant with it.

  13. Iota
    28/10/2012 / 08:59

    Such an important subject.
    We tried the “limiting computer time” thing, but realistically, it’s going to be their future, so it’s more important to teach them to use the time wisely, rather than to fight against it.

  14. Susanna
    28/10/2012 / 07:03

    Being open is the first step. It’s when they start hiding things you need to start worrying. x

  15. Susanna
    28/10/2012 / 07:02

    I’d say the time is nigh!

  16. 28/10/2012 / 06:58

    What a great idea! My kids are 11, 9 and 6 and mainly go on eBay and watch music videos on YouTube, but I know the social networking days aren’t too far off. They’ve had the Internet safety lessons at school, but it’s easy to forget all that in the excitement of social networking.

  17. Kara
    28/10/2012 / 06:42

    What a fabulous idea – I sometimes feel that my boys have to be surgically removed from the internet. Thankfully they are very open and honest about what they are doing on there – getting cheats for their favourite games!!