Family Meeting: Setting Internet Rules

(Source: Yahooligans.yahoo.com)

The #1 way to protect your family against the dangers of the Internet is through education. This is why it is mandatory to have a Family Meeting to discuss the rules before going online. Here are some important topics to discuss with your children when setting your Family Internet Rules.

  • Time online: Discuss how much time they are allowed to spend online, and whether their computer use is dependent on conditions such as finishing their homework, doing chores, etc.
  • Location/Supervision: Decide whether there are restrictions or guidelines on the physical location where the kids can go online. Can they go online at school? In the library? At a friend's house? Are they allowed to be online when no adult is around?
  • Personal information: Make sure that your kids know to never give out personal information, such as their full name, address, phone number, school, or picture, to anyone they meet online.
  • Web sites: Talk about which kinds of web sites are okay, and which ones are off-limits. Are they limited to sites related to their schoolwork? Sites that are designed especially for kids? Only sites that are listed in Famster?
  • Meeting online friends: Kids should never arrange to meet an online friend in person without an adult present.
  • Chat rooms: Explore approved chat rooms together while discussing your guidelines. What is your comfort level with this method of communication? Do you want your children to chat in monitored chat rooms only? Are your children allowed to send personal messages to people they've only met online?
  • Inappropriate material: Let your kids know that they should never respond online when they feel uncomfortable or scared by something they've seen or read. If they have any doubts, they should find an adult immediately and show them the inappropriate material.

The Golden Rule: Remind your kids to behave towards other kids as they would like people to behave towards them. Something that could hurt another child's feelings on the playground will still hurt when received by email or in a public chat.