What you may consider normal parenting methods could be misconstrued as intrusive, causing hurt feelings of distrust, even if you have suspected correctly that certain material you view as harmful is being viewed. Here are some helpful hints to keep the communication lines open, build trust and hopefully reduce stress levels.
Don't Wait To Communicate
While you can try adding changes after damage is done, it is better to curb issues before they emerge. Why wait until our young are in their late teens to rectify concerns, when hardened and determined habits are formed. Have viewing parties-include snacks like you would on a movie night, finding easy recipes as everyone surfs together. Allow suggestions and listen to requests, posing questions without blame or scolding if choices don't match what you had in mind. Have the chat before the web educates your child for you.
Talk About It Often
As our youth make mature discoveries, incorporate positive dialogue during family meetings, preferably away from the dinner table so it creates honest feedback and less of a tribunal feel. Avoid accusing or passing judgment. You want to know what is on their mind. Suggest age appropriate activities that can showcase some of the items of interest found while online. Let the kids construct computer projects you all can participate in and share through email, family community rooms, etc.
Discuss Real Dangers
The family computer can be centrally located but you need to have the conversation. As technology changes more venues for voyeurism crop up with the snap of a finger. Keep it real and current, asking every household member to research and share updated online dangers. Talk about changing passwords and sharing these passwords except on business, critical data not needing to be shared anyway. Check more ideas out here: http://www.parentfurther.com/technology-media/online-safety/computers
Strong Resolves Strengthens Bonds
You may be tempted but do not give in to the pouty mouth, attitude or other mood changes. Once everyone understands what is to be expected, let it be understood by your responsible behavior that you are the parent and setting boundaries is a part of the process. Including your kids in the dialogue is respectful, a privilege they need to emulate.
Being aware of the joys and dangers can enable your child to surf safely without drowning.
Until next week~