You can set up all the safety locks and passwords imaginable but children will always find a away round them. So I truly believe that the only way you can keep them safe is by
- sitting with them
- setting boundaries
- trusting them whilst they are on the internet.
SITTING WITH THEMI know this is not always feasible to sit with them and it also depends on the age of the child, sitting with a 16 year old will probably do more damage to your relationship then anything else!
I have a 5 year old boy who uses the internet to help with his phonics as well as playing on his favourite game, Skylanders. Because he is so young it is easy for me to sit with him as he often needs help with certain aspects of navigating around the screen, web addresses and if he clicks on something he shouldn't. Though he is now getting quite competent at it, I can see that in the not so distant future he will no longer need my help.
Even at the this young age we have already set up rules about using the computer -
- Always ask first before using it
- He tells us exactly what he wants to look at
- He only uses it for a certain amount of time
- If uses Google or You Tube Mummy or Daddy must be present.
This type of technology is going to be second nature to his generation, it is almost going to seem foreign to him to go to the library and look at actually books for answers.
As he grows up we will still have limitations on using the computer. Plus to help him with homework I will show him other ways of finding out the information, the Library, visiting places, asking people who it effected, watching documentaries. The internet is not the 'be all and end all'.
As all children grow up, them want independence and the opportunity to slowly act like adults. I think that surfing the internet is included in this.
At some point we have to accept that they are going to get curious about certain things and may go looking for the website you really do not want them to see. But you have to believe that you have raised a sensible, well balanced individual and that they are just curious, thats all.
I am going to try to keep my relationships with my children very open, I want them to be able to talk to me about anything! So if anything does happen where alarms bells start to ring in my head, I am able to deal with it calmly and within a pre-established trustworthy relationship. Hopefully my children will be able to talk to me about any problems or issues they may have.
With all this said, one very important thing remains.
I am the boss and if you betray that trust, you face the consequences.
You must always show that you have control within your home regardless of their age.