In this video produced by Creating A Family in September 2011, Dawn Davenport provides some general suggestions for handling your child’s Internet activities based on her own experience.
Dawn emphasises making your child’s computing activities a central part of the family life by ensuring that any computer, laptop or tablet they use is seen as a family resource (that you also use) and is placed in a family room rather than in their own bedroom. they share their passwords with you and that you use the computer too occasionally. She explains the importance of being an occasional presence nearby when they are online.
Dawn sees having an ongoing dialogue with your child about online activity is more important than setting up parental control software. She suggests talking about their online privacy, about online behaviour generally, how anything they post online is potentially viewable by anyone, and encouraging them to help you with research and learning about privacy issues and settings. Dawn argues that we should try to limit a child’s screen time, and not encourage late night use.
Finally, Dawn recommends keeping to social media age limits and to keep a periodic check on your child’s social media accounts and ensure they friend you (and you friend them) so that you can mutually check posts and potential over sharing by your child (or by you).
Here are some suggestions for further reading on the topics that Dawn introduces in her video. Here’s a link to an article on the current debate about screen time.
Here’s a link to an article about parental over-sharing issues.
Here’s a link to discussions about the use of parental control software.