School is out for the summer, which means kids are home and have an abundance of time on their hands. Just as you are concerned about your child’s safety while playing outside, the online world should be no different. The Internet is a great resource for children, however it is also a vast place with information that is not all suitable for a younger audience. Great Plains Communications has put together a few Internet safety tips for kids and their parents.
1. Have a Conversation
By having a conversation with your children about the Internet, you open the door to a discussion with questions and set guidelines. Rather than throwing restrictions at children, it is better to sit down with them and explain why you will be
monitoring their Facebook page once a week or why they have an allotted four hours online a day.
2. Set Age Limits
The required age to join Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat is 13-years-old. For LinkedIn it is 14-years-old. And for the Vine app, it is 17-years-old. However, it is very difficult for these companies to monitor true ages, as opposed to fudged dates-of-birth, so we encourage you to ensure your children are adhering to site regulations.
3. Limit Internet and Cell Phone Use
There is nothing wrong with a little fresh air, but that can be hard to enforce from your desk at work. Rather than waiting until you get home to jump on the search history of the family computer, consider if monitoring programs are right for your household. One in particular, created by Disney, is the “Circle with Disney”. By connecting to your home Wi-Fi, this device will monitor not only the content your child is looking at, but also help to manage how long they are using the Internet. It covers smart phones, tablets, and any other device that connects to your home Wi-Fi, allowing you to track how long each person is online. You can also set “bedtimes” which disables the Internet from the specific device until the scheduled activation time. Look for a link to additional information on the “Circle with Disney” in our “On the Web” section of the newsletter.

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