(Kristin Judge via AnnArbor.com)
Protecting our family at home is serious business. Personally, my family has a full plan in place to keep us safe in the case of a house fire. We have a place to meet (the mailbox), a portable ladder in the closet on the second floor, smoke detectors with batteries that are changed every New Year, and a lightning rod in our side yard.
Many Americans are probably as prepared as our family in this case. Our children have also been taught the “Stop, Drop and Roll” routine in school.
In the 21st century, families need an online safety plan in place to protect their family from becoming victims. Just consider how safe we will be as a community when the messages for online safety are as commonplace in our lives as the messages around fire safety.
Putting an online safety plan in place can be a great opportunity to have dialogue with your family about communication, cyber bullying, privacy issues and other topics
Here are some suggestions that may work for your family:
- Determine a central location for your computer so you can monitor your children’s activities online. Use parental control settings to block access to inappropriate sites when needed.
- Set parameters for acceptable online behavior and expectations. Clearly explain the rules and expectations regarding online behavior. Include issues such as cyber bullying, keeping personal information private (not posting it online), and treating people met online as the strangers that they are.
- Develop a monitoring strategy. How will you assure your family complies with your “Acceptable Use Policy?” You may choose to monitor your family’s online activities and let them know their activity is being monitored.