Shannon Dauphin is an avid researcher, journalist, and occasional novelist. She works and plays on the Georgia coast with her two not-so-little darlings. Find more articles on online schooling at OnlineSchools.com and discover other personal mom-stories that you can use for your mommy practices.
There was a time, not that long ago, when my children saw the computer as “Mom’s work.” As a writer, I was always typing something, and they viewed my laptop as nothing more than a tool. Beyond the occasional school assignment, they had zero interest in surfing the Web. None. And then they learned about Facebook.
Suddenly, surfing the Internet was cool and laptops were toys. And when I set time limits on their new discovery, my “cool mom” status was instantly taken away. Thankfully, for all of us, we came to a nice compromise before my happy little fiefdom collapsed. Here’s how we’re keeping the peace…for now.
House Rules for the Internet
1. The computer stays in the family room. When it comes to Internet safety, ignorance is not bliss. All online activities stay up-front and open by keeping the computer in the family room, where curious adults can peek in on what the kids are surfing. If somebody wants a bit of privacy, they can head to the recliner in the corner — but still in the family room.
2. If something looks weird, yell for mom. If the computer starts throwing some strange voodoo, remove your hands from the keyboard and yell for an adult. The last thing anybody wants is a nasty virus or, heaven forbid, pop-up porn, running rampant in the family photos.
3. Passwords are not a secret around here. Think your Facebook emails are private? Think again. I do trust my children, but that doesn’t mean I trust everyone else — and there are a lot of people online who are not what they appear to be. I won’t invade their Internet world unless I suspect there is a problem, but I insist on having the passwords on standby, just in case.
4. Bullying is not tolerated, even if it’s online. Any bullying of any kind is not allowed. Period. Cyber bullies included. If there’s even the slightest inkling of a little punk hiding behind a screen name to attack somebody else, they get blocked, reported and have evil spells tossed their way. (Not really. I don’t know any evil spells…do you?)
5. Online time is a treat. It’s entirely possible to waste an entire day doing absolutely nothing online. I know this because I have fallen victim to the cursed clock-snatcher that is Peggle. But my own weaknesses aside, the importance of sending the kids out to get sunlight and fresh air is still a top priority around here.
As the little ones grow up and depend on the internet for job searching, the rules may bend, but at least they’ve grown up knowing there’s more to life than surfing the web. Hopefully that means I’ll get my “cool mom” crown back when they’ve got kids of their own.