As our children get a little older (tweens) and are interested in electronics with Internet connections, we as parents took the opportunity to teach our children about Internet safety. We want to teach our children that the Internet is awesome and can be used to accomplish a lot of good. We want our children to learn how to be tech savvy and how to navigate our digital world successfully. Sheltering our kids from Internet access isn't going to help them grow up to be responsible adults.
Our oldest saved his money and bought himself an awesome Chromebook. This has prompted several conversations in our home about Internet safety principles. As an aside, we found an excellent resource in teaching kids about avoiding pornography here and here.
We summarized the principles we wanted our children to understand in the following contract, which was well suited for their age:
I ____(your name)____ agree to the following Purcell Family Electronics Agreement:
- Use In Public Rooms Only. I won't take my Internet-connected device into my bedroom, bathroom, or behind a closed door. I will use my device in an open area.
- Password Safety. I will share my passwords with my parents, but will not share it with others. If I change my password, I will notify my parents right away.
- Allowed Hours. Electronics are allowed until 9pm. If needing to use electronics after 9pm, special permission from parents is needed.
- Report Inappropriate Material Immediately. When I run across inappropriate content, such as immodest, violent, or degrading images or content, I will close the lid, tab, etc. and report it to a parent. This is consistent with the CANDO method discussed in Family Home Evening.
- No Chat Rooms. I will not join chat rooms, as chat rooms usually encourage conversations contrary to the principles of the gospel and those outlined in this agreement.
- Authenticity. I won't create fake profiles or pretend to be someone else, whether that someone else be a made up person or an actual person. In addition, I will never email, instant message, or chat with someone I have never met in person. I will never write something online that I would feel uncomfortable saying face to face (this includes conversations to those of the opposite gender).
- Guard Personal Information. I will ask a parent before emailing or submitting personal information online such as address, birth date, the school I attend, etc.
- Have A Purpose. The internet is a tool, not my master. I will go online only when I have a clear purpose. I will not turn to the Internet when I am bored.