To Friend or Not Friend Your Kid on Facebook? - Page 2
Back to the monitoring part. Clearly, there needs to be some transparency – meaning we can check-in (not obsessively stalk) our kids’ online activity. This brings me to the best reason for connecting (although, not on Facebook) with my children online – to teach them good and safe online behaviors. For me, cell phones, texting and social media seemingly go hand-in-hand. And, for most of the kids in our neighborhood, the cell phone arrives about 6th grade or at 12 YO (aka middle school).
That means, I have approximately 2 years and 348 days to get my online/social media/texting/cell phone rules in place. In the meantime, I’m comfortable operating in the 7-10 YO age group where filtering programs and child-safe search engines are seemingly the first and easiest answer. But, I know it’s just the beginning, as each year brings new and more sophisticated challenges, opportunities and risks.
Thankfully, there are some great go-to resources for parents. GetNetWise breaks down online safety by age groups, providing tips and technology for parents. Connect Safely – Smart Socializing Starts Here is an invaluable parenting resource on everything from “sexting” to “bully proofing yourself on Facebook.” Both sites reinforced what I already knew – talking/listening is truly the only way to protect and connect with my kids about everything important to them (and me).
Now that I’ve crafted a strategy for cultivating my children’s online identities, I’m off to develop guidelines for driving and dating … which they won’t need until they are 30!