How to Monitor Your Child’s Computer Time
Computers and devices are an important part of our world these days. While you and I didn’t have a cell phone until adulthood, today nine year olds have them. That isn’t a bad thing, though, because photos and texting are a big part of children’s worlds now. But like anything else, we have to make sure our kids aren’t exposed to topics that are above their age, especially when we aren’t there to supply explanations and context. Here are some tips for monitoring your child’s device time.
1. Make your monitoring clear
If you spy on your kids without telling them, they’ll be resentful of you when they do find out. They’ll feel like you could be watching them at other times when they expect privacy. Make sure you make it clear with your kids that you’re checking their browser history or keystrokes.
2. Place your devices in a central location
It’s a good idea to set your computer up in a public place, like the living room or kitchen. If your kids use portable devices, insist that they stay in those public places. Not only will you be able to see what they’re seeing at any time, but they’ll be less likely to break the rules.
3. Ask lots of questions
After spending some time online, ask lots of questions about what they saw and read. Make sure you spend time discussing anything they found confusing. Note what they saw with the sites and apps they used so you can judge them.
4. Check their stuff
Often kids aren’t clever enough to clear their browser history, delete text messages and photos, or clear their call log. As long as you make it clear that this is something you’ll be doing, don’t be afraid about giving these items a scan every now and then. Safety is paramount.
5. Beware online components
Everything has an online component nowadays. An Xbox or PlayStation might seem harmless (after all, you supply the games, right?), but those systems have extensive online networks that let kids speak with just about anyone. Either disable these elements or let your child play with them while you’re near.
6. Install the right software
There are plenty of options these days for parents to control their child’s online experience without standing over their children all the time. Net Nanny and eBlaster are probably the best there is at the moment. You can blacklist certain sites or sites that use certain keywords. WebWatcher is another great tool that lets you actually watch what your child did on the computer.
7. Have honest conversations
If your child comes across a subject online that confuses them, you have to address it, even if the topic is uncomfortable for either of you. If you say, “Ignore that, it’s for grownups,” you’ll just ignite their interest. Do your best to explain what they saw in a child-friendly way and then find ways to limit further interaction with that topic.
Do you give your children time on the computer, tablet or cell phone? How do you monitor this time?
Written by Stephanie Parker from Sleepingbaby.com, inventors of the Zipadee-Zip
The motto for Sleeping Baby, makers of the Zipadee-Zip, is: "Inspiring Dreams One Night at A time," and that, in a nutshell, is how it all started…with one little dream that has since become the Parker family's reality. When Brett and Stephanie Parker's daughter, Charlotte, was born, the feeling that welled up inside of them was indescribable; they never realized until first looking into those baby blues of hers that they were even capable of that kind of love.
When it was time to transition baby from swaddling, the Parkers tried every sleep sack on the market and every swaddle weaning trick they could find for nearly two weeks and nothing worked to get baby Charlotte to fall and stay asleep.
Stephanie became determined to restore sleep and sanity to their household and set out to find a solution that would soothe Charlotte's startle reflex and provide her the cozy womb-like environment she loved so much but still give her the freedom to roll over and wiggle around in her crib safely. Out of sheer desperation and exhaustion, the Zipadee-Zip was born. The first Zipadee-Zip(R) Stephanie put together on her little sewing machine worked like magic!
To date tens of thousands of Zipadee-Zips have been sold and all from word-of-mouth marketing. It is so rewarding for the Parkers to see other parents and babies getting the sleep they both need and deserve!
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