Sam Black offers some sound advice on protecting our children from the dangers of a sexualized culture. Here are ten practices:
- Set clear rules for how the Internet and technology may be used in your home. That will vary based on the age of family members and the personal beliefs of parents. Remember the goal is to teach kids how to use the Internet wisely, not to simply put up barriers. Teaching them now will prepare them for when they are older.
- Become knowledgeable. Parents need to put effort into learning about websites and how the Internet is used. Internet Accountability reports from Covenant Eyes can help parents keep up with their kids. After all, a new website is launched every second.
- Many sites and social media require usernames and passwords. A parent should know all password information, including that for e-mail, social networking, chat, etc. And parents should log in and review these accounts on at least a weekly basis. Being your child’s friend on Facebook is not enough as social networking sites allow the user to hide interactions.
- Many sites are interactive and allow kids to personalize the web content. Work with your child to create online nicknames that don’t give away personal information, such as a real name, date of birth, or address.
- Everyone in the household, including adults, should serve as good role models.
- Kids should never share personal information, such as their real names, their phone number, address, or school name, etc., with someone they meet online. And tell your kids to never agree to meet someone they met online.
- Video chat should only be allowed when accompanied by a parent.
- Monitoring and good conversations will also help you know if your child is engaging in or the victim of cyberbullying.
- Out of the box, many smartphones and handheld devices are nearly devoid of parental controls. Learn the facts about how to monitor smartphones and handheld devices.
- Spam can be a source of pornography and scams. Tell teens not to give out their e-mail address or respond to junk mail.