Responsible parents set up limits for their kids’ internet activity. But if you asked the kids, they might say their parents need internet rules too. Here are three internet rules the parents in your house might need.
1) Ask before you post
Facebook started in 2004, so the very first Facebook babies are turning 12 years old this year. These Facebook tweens are realizing that their childhood has been recorded on the internet, and they are not too pleased. What was adorable ten years ago to their parents’ families and friends is humiliating as the kids’ classmates discover potty-training pictures, toddler music videos, and more.
Once your kids are old enough to understand how social media works, they should have the right to veto any posts that feature them. Family squabbles have no place on Facebook, follow the Golden Rule when it comes to photos.
2) Phones off at 11pm
Your kids have an internet curfew, but you find yourself watching cat videos (we won’t judge) or scrolling Yahoo News until 2am. What’s wrong here?
Aside from your own need for sleep, your kids will remember both their rule and your example. They will form their ideas about responsible habits based on what they see you do. Eventually they will be too old for your internet curfew, so you want to self-disciplined adult behavior now for them to copy later.
3) No phones at the dinner table
Of course work emergencies happen, but how many of them are so urgent that they can’t wait half an hour? Phone etiquette applies whether you are with a five year old or a forty-five year old– if you wouldn’t check your phone at a dinner with your boss, you shouldn’t check your phone at dinner with your family.
If this habit is a tough one to crack for your family, consider passing around a basket for electronic devices when you sit down for dinner together. Don’t remember to add your own!
Parents, your children watch and listen to you intently. They remember how you act, and they form their own values and habits accordingly. They might follow rules that differ from your behavior as children, but your example teaches them about acceptable behavior for a successful adult.
When you’re making your family internet plan, don’t forget to include limits for the parents of the family. Your kids will take notice and thank you.