Keeping your child safe on the internet, although more difficult than some other areas of parenting, is not impossible.
Being in the 35+ category, I remember a childhood free from screens! A childhood full of bike-riding, playing until dark with the neighbors and using encyclopedias to look something up for school.
Now, however, once your child can read and sees something on a magazine cover, or billboard that he is unfamiliar with, he can easily search for the meaning of words online, or even “ask Siri.”
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I Don’t Need To Worry About This, My Kids Are Too Little
I know what you are thinking! “My kids are too little to be thinking about this.” “I’ve got enough on my hands, what with sleep, nutrition, potty training and all!”
Or maybe you’re thinking, “Oh, I’ve got a handle on screens at my house, Shelley. I’m all over it!” I’m so glad you feel confident in your ambition to keep your child’s internet exposure under wraps, let me say, it’s just not possible to handle on your own.
Unless of course, you want to trade in your motherhood for a career in screen monitoring. Because that is what you’ll need to do if you expect to control it on your own.
If keeping your child safe on the internet were something moms could do on their own, the statistic of 90% of boys and 70% of girls age 13-14 have viewed p*#n online, wouldn’t exist. You need help!
Life + Culture + Technology
Protecting The Internet Generation Failure
- Life: Time is not on your side. That bulldozer-loving, tough-guy-strutting, little baby boy of yours will be a 9-year-old pre-teen in the blink of an eye. “My, how the time flies by!” It’s not a cliché. It’s not a metaphor. It is the truth. Time. Flies. By!
- Culture: Screens and internet access are everywhere. You can’t control it any more than you can control the ocean. Where is the internet? Old phones, laptops, desktops, smart TVs, Xbox, Kindle, Nintendo, Play Station, Nook, as well as ANY and EVERY other electronic device in all of creation! The internet is everywhere.
- Technology: Your baby will start “clicking around” as soon as she can hold a device in her hand. Around-about 1-year-old. Touch screens have made it impossible to stop a child from clicking.
Together, these things create a current we just can’t swim against on our own.
How To Protect My Child On The Internet
I know I have painted a pretty dark picture. But you just gotta get this! Protecting the internet generation is possible, but there are a handful of things you simply must do.
- Create a system that requires your child to come to tell you what they’re doing during screen time. That system would sound like this. “Mommy, I have the iPad, and I’d like to play Reading Eggs in the living room for a while.” You now know what device your child has, what game he is playing and where he is at.
- Set a timer. Purchase a timer like this here or here. Since you’ve been diligent to train your child on the importance of first-time obedience, when that timer goes off, she’ll turn the device off right away. Expensive systems that turn the device off automatically aren’t necessary, because you’ve got a great kid who turns it off herself.
- Have an open door rule. Keeping the doors open creates a sense of accountability.
- Keep bedtime and wake-up times enforced. Having set times for going to sleep and waking up prevent alone-mischief-time at night or in the morning. Read more about child training here.
- Do your diligence. Know what devices are in your home and which ones have internet capability. Then block them.
- Lastly, and most importantly, you need a child-safe internet browser! We use Covenant Eyes and have been so pleased with them.
Keeping Your Child Safe On The Internet With Covenant Eyes
Find out more about Covenant Eyes here. One of my favorite things about this company is all the free resources they offer. Such as here free ebooks about parenting the internet generation. And an article here about the dangers of the internet for kids. Internet safety for children and family purity is a top priority for them.
Be diligent, be proactive and be REAL! It is not possible to monitor the internet alone. Don’t try. Once your child has seen inappropriate images… he can’t un-see them. Those disgusting images can be forever burned in his brain. Prevention is worth a pound of cure, except when it comes to protecting your child on the internet. At which point, prevention is worth a crap-ton of cure!!!