And so a good New Year’s resolution that involves the entire family is to review the cyber-safe house rules which provide instructive guidance for the personal security of every member of your family.
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Cyber-safe family review
Conduct a review of your family’s personal boundary-setting policies and make commitments to one another that every individual will do their part of follow cyber-safe house rules. Below is a Cyber-Safe House Rules criteria check list:
House rules criteria
House rules involve boundary setting that relies upon individuals to take personal responsibility for thoughts and actions in age appropriate ways. The following are some criteria for establishing and enforcing cyber safe house rules:
• Consider internet access and smart phones as a rite of passage – not a right.
• No secrets, no surprises. Transparency is mandatory.
• Explain why each rule exists and how it benefits individuals and the family
• Regulate schedule and access to cyber tools
• Unplug phones at a designated time in the evening
• Only hit “send” if your mother could read it and be proud
• Establish and enforce consequences for rules violations
• Clean slate. Once a consequence has been enforced give your child a clean slate, expressing confidence in your child’s ability to stand corrected.
Key concepts for conversation
Private v. secret: Private is when you decide not to disclose information about yourself in order to be safe. Privacy involves discretion and is active boundary setting. A secret, on the other hand, is something that is determined cannot survive the light of day because it is not acceptable: i.e., exploitive, harmful or illegal. Secrets nurture risky behavior.
Trust v. faith: Trust among people is always verifiable, while faith is reserved for God who does not require proof. Too often children expect trust and privacy, which are dangerous – especially in their on-line worlds. When we put our faith in children to handle things without guidance, we leave them vulnerable to risky circumstances beyond their ability to respond with confidence.
Devices and Apps: Check list for a cyber-safe review
• Establish a family approved-app list. If you have not already done so, create a family-approved app list wherein every family member has a list of apps that are approved for use. Use this list to train your children to discuss every app before downloading it, and have a conversation about this app will make their life better and be sure to review the privacy settings and any other aspects to verify that it is age-appropriate. For more about establishing age-appropriate use of devices and apps, go to the free ebook: Cyber Rites of Passage.
• Location services on the devices. Every device and app will have a location services setting, which enables or disables GPS tracking. Be sure to set the location services to off.
• Photo tags. Check to see where photos of you are tagged. Here is a link to find the photos where you are tagged in Facebook.
• Privacy settings for every app and device. Here is a link to access information about checking privacy settings for various apps and accounts (such as social media sites as well as consumer sites like Amazon and NetFlicks).
• Standards for language and images. Words and images matter. Foul language and violent or sexually explicit images disturb the peace. Encourage your child to remove foul language from their news feeds and posts, and delete any images that are not in alignment with your family values.
• Criteria for “friending” and “connecting” on-line. Only “friend” people you know in person and are associated with a trusted relationship.
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.
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Jodie Stevens, hostess of The Fish Family Morning Show on 103.9FM The Fish offers insights and lessons learned about faith and recovery from addiction. Check out her blog, Genuine Life with Jodie Stevens, weekday mornings on the Family Morning Show.