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Be a Parent (The Internet is not a babysitter)

Be A Parent
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Straight talk about the internet and kids.
(It is a vicious/unsafe place for kids)

Internet predators are out there in droves. It’s ruff being a parent the Internet adding to the stress and worries.
Teaching kids to be safe and learning how yourself is a must nowadays. Remember the net is a place extremely easy to hide, cheat, steal and manipulate ANYONE leaps and bounds more than in the physical world! We set rules for our kids. The rules for the net are and always should be NON negotiable!

I Myself insist on meeting friends, boyfriends, and girlfriends in person. know where a kid is going, what they’re doing etc., Before they even leave the house. I ground or take away privileges for rule breaking. You may or may not enforce similar rules in your home, but as far as online “Strict” should be your middle name.

The Basics

Talk To Your Kids 
It’s important that your kid knows what your expectations and rules are, also that they are well versed in Internet safety, plus you should be prepared for problems and concerns.

Set Guidelines
Create a set of rules about when and how long they can use the computer. Be clear about what they can and cannot do online. Online is a privilege not a right so complete chores, homework, etc. first, basic rule #1. Things like instant messaging, chat rooms, blogs, and social networking sites (Instagram, Facebook), virtual worlds (Club Penguin, Webkinz). Strick consequences for breaking the rules is a must.

OMG Follow Through Dammit!
Stick with your rules. It’s true that kids need boundaries and, as much as they fight you on it, get a backbone they are KIDS. Do not let them “slide” with infractions. Be very strict. It may save their life.

Pay Attention
Putting your computer in the living room does ZERO if you’re not paying attention to what your kids are doing. Make a habit of pulling up a chair and talking to your kid about what they’re doing. You ask who/where when they go out of the house, this is no different.

Learn! Research!
If you ask your kid what they’re doing and you don’t understand the answer, it’s time to LEARN.(You don’t give monkeys a gun!) Visit the website in question, search more info about it. Maybe your “iffy” about it then it’s a “Off Limits Site”. You need to understand what your kids are doing when they’re online.
Research! If this seems like a lot of work…. IT IS. YOU have KIDS!!!

Join In When Possible (don’t invade)
This is being part of. (like a attentive normal parent). If your kid has an interest online such as Webkinz, Neopets, Facebook, etc., research it and ask them what they like about it.

Sign up for your own account and add your kid as a “friend.”
(This is BS advice i read somewhere. But guaranteed your kid wont go to that site anymore after they give you a “you don’t trust me” guilt trip speech) LMAO Sorry had to for the “whiners”, “excuse makers” etc.

Get Techie!
There is no shortage of Internet Safety tools available to help you control, track and/or limit what your kids can say and do online. Take the time to learn about Internet filters, firewalls, monitoring software, browsers for kids and other tools. While they are not a replacement for real parenting, they can help make your task easier.Also many of these can be defeated with a bit of knowledge.

Snoop!!!
Use your browser history, cache and cookies to find out what sites your kids have been up to. This is not to suggest that you should spy on your kid, it’s telling you to do so. Enter their names (including nicknames) into popular search engines to see if they have public profiles on social networking sites. Do the same with your address and phone number. You might be surprised by how much of your and their information is online!

Do Not Ignore Red Flags
A kid who is reluctant to talk to you about what they’re doing online or seems to be withdrawing from family and/or friends may have a problem. It can be easy to chalk up certain things to normal behavior, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore changes in your kid’s personality. Cyberbullying is just one of many “Net” issues that may cause your kid to withdraw.

Dam It Say “NO”
If your kid continually spends too much time online or ignores rules about what they can and cannot do, it is time to pull the plug literally. Although your kid will whine, they won’t die and can survive without it. Make sure you’re clear about why and how long they will hate you for the unplugging. They may have a homework project that requires access. Sit with them while they do it.Remember that they may be able to use computers at school, the library, and a friend’s house. also they can browse the web on their cell phone. So cut those cords if possible also.

Here’s a sample rule list and some tips on how to enforce your rules.

Basic Rules
1# 1 hour online per day. (adjust for school projects ONLY prior to access)
2# Chores, homework etc. done BEFORE any access allowed
3# Only sites approved by parents allowed.
4# No arguing or backtalk when told to get off the computer. Or whos turn it is etc.
5# Always Ask before you logon no exceptions.

Basic Consequences.
1# Access time shortened
2# No access to certain site. (block it)
3# No internet.
4# No computer period.
5# Take a hammer to the computer!! (LOL Use a junk one they will not think your kidding anymore!)

How to enforce rules/consequences

1# PAY ATTENTION
2# Be strict
3# Parental controls (timers/block sites etc.)
4# Bios Password (Cannot be bypassed by most kids)
5# My favorite… Unplug the modem/router. Take power supply’s from the computer(s).
(You and take them to work in your trunk if you need LOL)

For Non-Novice:
Most modems and routers allow you to block mac address for each machine connected. Use this method if your familiar.

Obviously, you should have safeguards in place, but a lot of kids are too smart for their own good. There isn’t much they can’t find a way around. Make sure your parental controls are setup and password protected.

In the near Future I will post an article’s of how to block websites WITHOUT software on your pc.
Also how to block websites using your modem/router. And snooping methods.

Hope this helps …
Mongo