For years, my children dabbled with online activity with a lot of parental control. They only had access to the internet through one computer in the kitchen and my husband’s tablet. We kept a close eye on what they were doing and had conversations about cyber safety. After a few years, we allowed them to have their own tablets, but kept close tabs on anything they downloaded.
Fast forward a few more years and the internet has taken over nearly every part of their world. They each have school computers that come home each day. Most of their homework is on the computer. Even if they have paper homework, they still need to access the internet to complete the assignments.
Having the Cyber Safety Talk With Our Kids
My husband and I thought this year was a good time to sit down and review our family rules about online safety and responsibility. I was excited to find out about The Smart Talk created by the National PTA and LifeLock.
The Smart Talk is a free, online tool to help families set limits and ground rules about how they use technology. It is also meant to encourage families to have an open conversation about being safe and responsible online.
Families participate in an interactive experience walking through a guided conversation about things like:
- online safety
- screen time
- apps and dowloads
- texting and calling
- social media
- respectful online behavior
I love the idea of this program. My son participates in an online Minecraft group and my daughter has two social media accounts (monitored by me). It’s a perfect time to review these issues through this guided conversation.
My son, in typical teenage boy fashion, said “What do we need this for?” with a bit of an eye roll. As we walked through the contract, he gained a better understanding of the reasons behind the conversation and agreement.
We wish we had something like The Smart Talk years ago. Our kids may be the last ones in the neighborhood to get smart phones, but now they have a better understanding as to why. They have seen other kids be teased or bullied on popular social media apps. They know that we are trying to keep them away from that nonsense. There is enough they have to deal with as teenagers.
After The Smart Talk, I feel like we are all more informed about the benefits and risks of online activity. The Smart Talk can be revisited to keep the conversation going and evolving as kids age and technology changes. I’m sure there will be new things to chat about before we know it.
We printed out our Smart Talk contracts to hold us all accountable to the rules we’ve put in place. Anytime there is an issue or concern, we can pull out the contract and review the rules.
Kids are online more and more these days. No matter your child’s age, it’s a great time to talk to them about cyber safety and technology. Start by having The Smart Talk with your child and use it to set up smart online rules in your household.
What concerns do you have about online safety for your children?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Cyber Safety is very important.. I am worried about online predator. Don’t be a victim!
This sounds like an awesome resource! Cyber safety is so important and it’s important to discuss with kids!
The Smart Talk sounds like an awesome resource for parents to use for their children. I believe it is so important to teach our children about cyber safety along with having rules for social medial. Thanks for sharing the information,
my concerns about my kids on line is that they may not realize that someone out there may have a harmful intent. We talk about this topic often-great post
It is very easy for online predators to disguise who they are in order to target someone, especially children. There are so many schemers and crooks out there that being careful in the online world is especially important.
It’s a scary time to have a kid! Having a cyber safety talk is a great idea. I’m always afraid of cyber bullying. Kids are so mean and now that they can hide behind their computer bullying is worse than ever!
I think this is a great way to lay out some rules and talk openly about online safety with the kids. Having everything on the contract will be helpful.
It’s important to keep them safe from the dangers of the internet. You can’t really tell what could happen and an agreement like this will definitely give us parents some peace of mind. I love that your kids understood immediately why this is necessary.
this is so important! and i think it can be really overlooked sometimes, the internet can be a dangerous place to be for anyone, especially a child!
Cyber Safety is so important, I don’t have any kids but can only imagine how scary it may be to have kids online!
My biggest concern with being online for my children is how much influence the Internet can have. They said they’re writing your home and then will treat your child of mine and you don’t even know it sometimes. It is something that I watched very closely with my son.
Cyber safety is definitely something families (and everyone really) should be caution of. The Smart Talk sounds like the perfect tool to help make sure your family is safe online.
Kids should really limit their online time. I guess it’s important to set rules and limits on their usage.
Cyber safety is so important to discuss with your kids. There is a lot of great stuff on the internet, but there can be a lot of dangerous stuff too.
Cyber Safety should be a huge concern with all families. My daughter is a little older now. She’s almost 16. But, at this stage, we still have her passwords to her social media sites and will check them every once in awhile to make sure everything is on the up and up. Great post!
I’m really glad my kids are older now! They’re 18 and 21, so they were a little older when everyone became internet crazed. It is so important that kids know that not everyone out there is a “good guy.”