The first article in today’s post is one that I contributed to in 2010 in my role at Children’s Hospital Boston looking at the hazards associated with online addiction, a growing problem for many children and adults.
As a parent or someone who works with children with or without ADHD, it is critical to monitor not just the amount of time they are spending online, but what they are looking at. Here are 5 things you can do to manage your child’s online time:
1. Talk to your kid(s)
Make sure they know that the computer is accessible by any member of the house and that what one does on the web can be seen by an adult member of the family. Discuss in general about the pros and cons of the internet. Your parenting plays a vital role here. Let them know that you have given them the freedom to use the internet in a positive manner and not otherwise.
2. Computer Filtering and Monitoring Programs
If you are still raking your head about child internet safety and don’t want temptation lurking on the web, try a few softwares, programs than enable blocking of inappropriate content. A number of them are available in the market – Spector Pro, OnlineFamilyNorton, WebWatcher, PCtattletale. Read each product description and purchage the one most suitable to your needs.
3. Educate yourself
Learn about internet. A lot of adults are ignorant about what the web entails. With the amount of information loading on the web you can imagine the vastness in which the virtual world operates. Learn internet to know its features; search engines Google, Yahoo enable you to choose search settings for moderate to strict level filtering. Keep up with your kids by learning the latest lingo to spot pedophiles, stalkers, sexual deviants posing as friends or teenagers. Warn your kids about meeting any chat friends in real. This is one place where you can play the dictator for the right reasons.
4. Make a separate computer room & monitor the hours
Make a study or a small computer room which cannot be locked. Monitor the hours spent using the computer as it has replaced the playground and extracurricular activities kids otherwise used to involve themselves in. Socializing has shifted to Facebook, twitter helps following your friends. Too many hours spends on the internet can make your kids slack and also affect their health. Hence make sure you restrict usage to a limited number of hours.
5. Visit the most frequently visited sites
Net savvy kids know the trick of deleting browsing history on the computer to leave no trace of their whereabouts on the web. If your kid uses Internet explorer, check for IM chats, contacts, downloaded content. Visit the most frequented sites and email providers to see if ads or content on the pages is inappropriate and not what you want your kids to view.