I am not a parent but I have collected some tips and resources that I think would be helpful if I were a parent. I am a youth minister and I want to help parents connect with their teenagers and grow them closer to the Lord.
Stats on how many teenagers are using laptops and spending a lot of wasted time online.
http://www.commonsense.com/internet-safety-guide/ – Internet Safety Guide for Parents:
“Check site histories, set appropriate age filters, and check out the parental controls on your browser. Teach your kids the basics of safe searching (Google has a safe-search setting), and give them a digital code of conduct. Don’t let them figure it all out by themselves. ” Another helpful page: http://www.commonsensemedia.org/parent_tips/commonsense_view/index.php?id=270
According to CPYU.org – Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, we should:
First, we need to find out why our kids are visiting these sites.
Second, we should make sure we are equipping them properly to deal with the types of information they are confronted with both on these sites and in the world. Third, we must foster an environment of trust.
Fourth, we need to model for them what healthy relationships look like
Fifth, our kids must learn the difference between information and advertising.
Sixth, we need to make sure our kids are safe on the Internet.
(I cut the main principles, go to CPYU.org and read the details under the articles section).
http://www.cnet.com/4520-13384_1-6721000-1.html – CNet shows in this article some physical tools you can actually use and place on or around your computer to monitor and block certain activities.
http://protectkids.com/parentsafety/socialnetworking.htm – “Rules N Tools” is the page title. I really love this website. It has a lot of good ideas for rules and more tools to help you and your kids figure out social networks and the internet.
Internet-Related Safety Tips for Teens from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
1. Don’t give out personal information about yourself, your family situation, your school, your telephone number, or your address.
2. If you become aware of the sharing, use, or viewing of child pornography online, immediately report this to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.
3. When in chatrooms remember that not everyone may be who they say they are. For example a person who says “she” is a 14-year-old girl from New York may really be a 42-year-old man from California.1
4. If someone harasses you online, says anything inappropriate, or does anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, contact your Internet service provider.
5. Know that there are rules many Internet Service Providers (ISP) have about online behavior. If you disobey an ISP’s rules, your ISP may penalize you by disabling your account, and sometimes every account in a household, either temporarily or permanently.
6. Consider volunteering at your local library, school, or Boys & Girls Club to help younger children online. Many schools and nonprofit organizations are in need of people to help set up their computers and Internet capabilities.
7. A friend you meet online may not be the best person to talk to if you are having problems at home, with your friends, or at school – remember the teenage “girl” from New York in Tip number three? If you can’t find an adult in your school, church, club, or neighborhood to talk to, Covenant House is a good place to call at 1-800-999-9999. The people there provide counseling to kids, refer them to local shelters, help them with law enforcement, and can serve as mediators by calling their parents.
8. If you are thinking about running away, a friend from online (remember the 14-year-old girl) may not be the best person to talk to. If there is no adult in your community you can find to talk to, call the National Runaway Switchboard at 1-800-621-4000. Although some of your online friends may seem to really listen to you, the Switchboard will be able to give you honest, useful answers to some of your questions about what to do when you are depressed, abused, or thinking about running away.”