This post was inspired and sponsored by Domain.ME, the provider of the personal URLs that end in .ME. As a company, they aim to promote thought leadership to the tech world.
Before elementary school, my girls had very limited, if any knowledge, of what the internet is. They didn’t use a computer at home and had no idea what “google it” meant. This was completely intentional. They have the rest of their lives to learn about and be on computers. We were in no rush for them to sit in front of one all day as I was worried might happen.
Now? They use computers pretty much daily at school. Their card catalogue and many library resources are online. Their teachers pull up full animal lessons on YouTube.
And yet, the idea of them being online scares the heck out of me. There is so much out there that they can accidentally stumble upon. Google images alone is terrifying (I once was googling images of specific Disney Princesses and the things that came up were definitely beyond X-rated!) If I found those, it would take no time at all for them to find them. And I’m not denying that they will find it all.
The girls have started having to do projects for school including searches on the internet. I know I need to try to protect them from what they will find. While I try to supervise them, with four children, I’d like to have some added built in security. Not only is it important to block them from finding inappropriate things, but to also have a discussion about what is inappropriate and what to do if they find something they shouldn’t.
They are also very into creating and recording videos and tutorials and they want to share them on YouTube, but I know we have to be careful about sharing and also teach them the correct ways to be online. Because I know I didn’t get a lesson when I was first allowed into online chat rooms where there were age/sex/location chats. I cringe just thinking of what could have happened there!
For now, we have a few rules that will change, be enhanced and are fluid as the kids age.
1. Stay on the school’s website.
The school library’s website allows them access to all of the sites they can use for projects, school work and reading assignments. It is protected and only allows access to certain parts of certain sites. There is no interaction with people and no access to anything inappropriate.
2. Open communication.
If they accidentally click in the tool bar and end up on another site, immediately let mom or dad know. If they see something that they know they shouldn’t see or makes them uncomfortable, tell mom and dad immediately.
3. Nothing personal.
Never give give out any personal information about themselves. Nothing about their name, age, family, etc is to be told to anybody else.
There is no getting on computers, tablets or phones on the internet without expressed permission. Sometimes they like to find a YouTube song, and they must have permission to find it before getting on a device.
The internet is a great place with a lot of information. But it’s also a place of a lot of people that don’t have the best intentions so I want to help my girls navigate it in the safest and best way possible.
What do you do to keep your kids safe online?