Keeping Kids Safe Online

As a full-time education consultant, Allison Zmuda works with educators to grow ideas on how to make learning for students challenging, possible and worthy of the attempt. Over the past 19 years, Zmuda has shared curricular, assessment, and instructional ideas, shown illustrative examples, and offered practical strategies of how to get started.

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online safety
Photo Credit: Melina Mara, THE WASHINGTON POST

As the mom of a 12-year-old and an eight-year-old who regularly spend time on “screens,” (laptops, phones, iPads), I want them to be able to explore and play, but I also don’t want them to get into trouble.

From buying new lives and ammunition to getting surprised on a web search when typing into Google “How do people make babies?” to accepting random opponents on Scrabble … I search for a family understanding of what is within the bounds of appropriate technology use.

My mom to the rescue — she sent me a link to a great blog post on Mac World today, by Abbi Perets. Here are some of the highlights.

  • “No matter what measures you take, computer-savvy teens may be able to figure out ways to bypass the built-in controls on the family computer or you may eventually forget to log out of the administrator account.”
  • “Sit down with your kids to create an ‘acceptable use’ policy for your own home—they’re much more likely to follow the rules if they’ve had a say in writing them.”
  • “Once you set up the rules [parental settings], let them be the boss, instead of you.”
  • “Make sure your kids understand that posting information on the Internet is akin to taking out an ad in The New York Times, playing it during halftime at the Super Bowl, and reading it over the loudspeaker during morning announcements at their school. It’s highly visible, in other words—and it can never, ever be truly erased.”
  • “Mom and Dad also have to follow the rules, because kids will always do as you do, not as you say.”

What are the agreements you have in your household? Share them by commenting below.

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