In2edu I.C.T. Resources Enhancing Education & Learning

Digital Citizenship: Cyber Safety at Home

What is the parent's role in this fast moving world of digital media? Are you a guardian, operator, refugee or avoider? I think it is all wrapped up into taking children from a childhood to adulthood, through the teenage angst, taking your child from a more secure environment as you deliberately seek to teach them how to be a digital-citizen.
As a parent the worst things you can do is avoid getting involved, "I don't understand this stuff." If your children are good users then they should be able to teach you what you do need to know, when you need to know it and you can add other knowledge and skills  (i.e. what they are not telling you) from some of the sites listed below.
What is most important is for your children to realise that using digital devices is a privilege (especially if  adults purchased them) and that as a parent you have the right to monitor their use. For the parent, it is important to realise that you are taking your pupils on a journey from a more innocent and protected place to a point when you say goodbye and you know they have learned behaviours, values and skills that they can independently apply to their digital device use and that will enable them to be great digital citizens.
First Steps
Talk about and setup a family home contract (set of negotiated rules) for use at home. Write out, discuss, spend time with your child on this and then all sign. Include items like reserving the right to check your child's Facebook page, laptop account, Internet history email and chat. Here is a sample contract.
Install filter software if you feel it is required.
Next Steps
Check what is happening. Your children will see/hear inappropriate material from time to time and it is important to have lines of communication open so that you can chat to them and discuss issues. Have learning conversations like, "Show me the most interesting recent site you have visited from your Internet history." I expect history to be always tere, part of our school contract, missing means something has been hidden! So a simple question likes this engages you with your child in their learning but gives you a chance to quietly check.
Keep doors open. Do NOT punish the child who saw something inappropriate and told you, that is exactly what you want to encourage, so thank them and either block the site or change the method of searching.
Attend school Workshops or other meetings. If your school has given you oportunities to learn in this area then grab them with both hands. They will have a lot of experience and information to offer you and remember that what you don't quite get you can always follow up later on with your own children as you will at least know where to start. I.E. "I  know you can have more than one Internet browser on our computer. How many do we have? Do we really need four? Let's choose the best two together?"

Other References
NZ Article on K9
Our Delicious Cyber-Digital Citizenship for Parents Stack.
Comments

Checking Browser History

Click to Enlarge
The ICT Agreement in our school states that all Internet history will be left intact, they should never be empty unless the browser has not been used, in which case a decision could be made to delete it from Applications.

A recent survey in the States suggest that only 10% of parents have interacted with their children's Internet use. I would suggest that as parents we need to be involved in learning and values discussions with our children, in helping them learn safety on the web.

These are our tips for boys to show their parents their history or for parents to discuss the latest learning sites used with their son.

Firstly, keep in mind that there can be multiple browsers on a laptop. The most common are: Safari, Firefox and Chrome. We would ask that boys do not install any others as they are not required. Also keep in mind that all new cellphones have Internet browsers.

Secondly, Each of these browsers has on the menu at the top of the screen a "History" Menu. Simply click to view and look through.

That's it 1,2 and you have had another great moment with your child! Some parents have mentioned to me, "How do I respect my child's privacy, or stop them saying you don't trust me.' I would like to reply from my own experience as a parent and youth pastor the your children DO NOT have the right to hide this from parents that care and that if you establish this as a routine then it will be matter of fact. I checked up on my son and daughter's history until they were 16-18, I reserved this right while I was letting them use technology I had purchased for them.
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