How to enforce your house rules for Internet usage can be tricky. There are a few ways besides talking to your children of enforcing the rules you have previously set. You can install the computer in place that is accessible to everyone, have contracts for everyone to sign, create lists of approved website, and the use of parental blockers or user profiles are just some ways to enforce your rules for Internet usage.
Having a discussion with your children about the rules of Internet usage can help when it comes time to enforce those rules. Make sure they know to never give out any personal information. This includes first and last names, where they live and where they go to school. There should be no exceptions to this rule. Be clear about why it is important and what could happen if these rules are broken. It will be easier to enforce this rule when you are sure your children understand it.
Talk to your children to see what they are doing on the Internet. If you allow chat rooms or instant messaging let them know that they should not talk to people they do not know on the Internet. Your child should come directly to you if they feel uncomfortable with anything they do on the Internet. Keeping the lines of communication open will help your children feel safer and be able to tell you when something is wrong.
Keeping your computer in a room that is accessible to everyone is also a great way to enforce your house rules for Internet usage. For the best safety measures the computer should not be in your child’s bedroom. With the computer in a family area there are more eyes watching and more of a chance of getting caught disobeying the rules.
After having a full discussion with your kids you might want to add contracts for some help in enforcing the Internet use rules. You can include what the rules are for each child and what the punishments are if they are caught not following the rules. You should have the child read and sign this. Explain that signing it makes them responsible and tells you that they know and will obey all the rules. Put the signed contracts near the computer area for easy access if you ever need them. Having the contract will give the responsibility to your kids for enforcing the Internet rules.
Creating approved website lists is an option for enforcing your house rules for Internet usage. You or another adult should have gone through the websites for questionable content and approved them for use by your children. Having this website list decreases the chances of your children going to risky sites. Your kids will know what sites are allowable enabling them to keep to the rules that you have previously set. If you do approve sites that may be risky including the networking sites then be sure to monitor their usage regularly.
To help enforce your internet rules you may also want to put system profiles on your computer. This would allow for each user to have their own account to log into. Make a password that only you know and then you are in charge of when the child is on the computer. You could also look at the history to see sites that have been visited.
For another option besides system profiles for enforcing your internet rules you can also use parental blockers. This allows you to set which sites your children can visit based on the sites rating. This will allow for safer searches because you have less of a chance of finding risky sites that may be tempting to younger kids. Many internet providers have this with the package you have purchased or you can buy them at computer stores.
Enforcing your house rules for internet usage will depend on what you are comfortable with and what your family may need. This is a decision that you should make as a family and adjust the rules or the enforcement of the rules as necessary.