You have a computer in your home and you can access the Internet from your computer. If there is more than just you in the house then you need to set some house rules for Internet usage. Having rules for the Internet and when it is used is a great way to keep family harmony.
A beginning step in setting house rules for Internet usage is to look at the ages of the family members. You can set different time limits for each child according to their age. If the kids are unable to read for themselves you may not want to give them time on the Internet and instead look into games already on a disc. For elementary aged children thirty minutes to one hour a day is more then plenty. You may still need to supervise in the same room with the younger kids. For Jr. High and high school children you will want one to two hours. They will need more monitoring than supervision. Adults in the house should also abide by some Internet usage rules.
Once you have time limits set for the family members then you can set a list of approved Internet sites to play on or visit. These sites should be kid friendly and easily navigated. Kids will become frustrated when it is not easy to find what they want. You will become upset when you are always running back to fix their problems. Make a list of all your pre-approved lists and keep it posted by the computer. You can have this list include news sites that are family friendly and you can have joke of the day sites for a little humor in the day. If you have kids that like to blog then don’t forget to include the sites that you have approved. More sites can be added with approval from you when asked.
You have time limits and an approved internet site list, now it is time to set some rules. Make sure the Internet users in your home know that they are not to give out personal information on the Internet. Things like their first and last names, their age, where they live, where they go to school, or even what kind of car they drive. For older kids with their own bank accounts it may be a good idea for them to not do any on-line shopping.
Parents should have all Internet passwords and user names to the pre-approved Internet sites list. This is great for monitoring older kids. If they don’t want to give the password and user name then they don’t visit the site. You can check the history on your computer if you need to see if they have visited those sites.
If the Internet users are a part of online communities then it is best to join as one of their friends. You will then be able to access their site through the friend connection and monitor what comes into their site. You can decide if you want your older teenage Internet user in chat rooms or not.
Encourage the children that are using the Internet to tell you anytime they run across something that is not appropriate or they feel may not be appropriate. Even with a pre-approved list some things may get by you the first time. Your child may accidentally click on an interesting ad only to have it turn into something that is not appropriate. This also gives you a chance to report the problem or to take the site off your list.
Some of the rules may need to change as your users get older or their interests change. Take the time to monitor your children, set the time limits so there is no fighting and remember to have fun surfing. The Internet has immense information. If used properly you can really have the world at your fingertips.