These days most Moms I know and talk to, are stretched too thin mentally; some are even physically stretched as well. Motherhood has always been the most challenging job in the world as it’s constantly evolving to the other side of scales, and we mothers especially, want to make sure we are doing the right things that our kids can benefit from the most. So when my girls learn piano, I make sure I know crescendo and pianoforte, when they learn swimming, I make sure their ears are below the water when breathing in freestyle and the list can go on and on.
As if that’s not enough, now bring technology and internet and online activities, even social media, into the picture.
My girls are 10 years old and 9 years old, as much as we try to keep them busy with outdoor activities, their screen time certainly is catching up with mine. Just this past holidays there were Twitter conversation about kids at younger age got Assassin’s Creed III as presents; now I don’t have boys but I did watch hubby played the game (yes he is a big kid but we won’t go there :)), I felt it’s quite violent and certainly not suitable for youngsters (even says on the cover for 17 years and older); meanwhile my girls have discovered a new website BOP and Tiger Beat and wanted to join! The answer is no.
Here are the guidelines I do with them:
Location — Wherever they are with the devices has to be visible, I need to be able to see their screens or hear the sounds playing from it, so I know the content is appropriate, these days you can’t trust the websites and pop-ups.
Openness — Be very open and upfront with them for rules and expectation, my girls each has own email accounts and they know I hold the passwords, it doesn’t mean I am sneaky to read what they say to friends but I can and will if I need to; they know they have to ask my permission to (1) go on YouTube and search specific artists, and (2) download games and apps even it’s free.
Visit — Visit the websites with them together, I want to know what content they are interested in, be it educational program or fashion and pop culture, I want to see how the website layouts the information and whether there are “hidden gems” for them to click on.
Evaluation – Revisit websites periodically to exam whether new content and layouts have been added, also discuss with them to see if it still appeals to their ages.
I am sure as my girls get older, we will update the royal treatment :), but for now, this is what we stick with and has been working for us. Try to learn the basics, even better (I really want to say it’s necessary), to know more than your kids do if possible, we are doing it for the LOVE, right?
What are some of your tips to keeping your kids safe online?