Chances are, your child has a vague idea of what may or may not be expected of them when using the Internet. They have notions when they’ve spent too much time online instead of studying or chores. They’ve likely heard that it’s not a good idea to talk with strangers online. As well, they probably know cyberbullying is not a demonstration of responsible digital behavior. But how can you be sure your child understands your expectations without having an open discussion with them? And better yet, how to ensure they remember what you expect long after that discussion
That’s where a family Internet safety contract comes in handy. It is a surefire way to get all of the expectations down on paper, and when printed out – the contract can be a constant reminder to your child of the “dos” and “do nots” of the Internet.
What to Include in your Family Internet Safety Contract?
There are a variety of points you can include in the contract, but why get bogged down with too many details? It’s important to include the most crucial rules – the ones that will ensure your kids’ digital safety and security of your child. We’ve brainstormed many points, and have distilled them down to an essential FIVE main points to include in your parent child contract. You can pick and choose which of these points work best for you and your family, or combine them with your own.
- The most important element of the contract is a promise made to not disclose personal information. Phrase this message in a way that your child understands, using language such as: “I will not give out personal information, such as my home address, phone number, or the name of my school without my parents’ permission.”
- You want to remind your child that they can always come to you at the slightest inkling something may be awry. Including language in the contract that speaks to this, written along the lines of: “I will tell my parents immediately if I see information online that makes me confused or uncomfortable” is a great approach.
- With social media and online chat rooms, kids today are more vulnerable than ever to online predators. It’s important that your child agrees to never rendezvous with a stranger they meet online. Ensure this is written in the contract.
- Have you discussed reasonable screen time limits with your child? If so, include your expectations in the contract. For example, you can write out rules for going online, such as: homework and chores must be completed before your child plays games or chats with friends online.
- Here at Familoop, we’re not only motivated by child safety – we’re passionate about teaching the next generation what it means to be a responsible digital citizen. Consequently, we recommend including a promise in the contract that your child understands the importance of being a kind and considerate person online, and not participate in any activities that may make someone else feel bad or damage their reputation. A good mantra to keep in mind is, “before posting something online about someone else, would I feel comfortable saying it to their face?” If the answer is “no”, then the content is not something a responsible digital citizen would post.
Once you’ve come up with a contract that includes line items that are most important to you and your family, print it out and have both you and your child sign it. Signing the contract together gives the document more power and respect, bettering the likelihood that your child will take their vow seriously. Please note, that if the word “contract” doesn’t sit quite well with you, we recommend swapping in the word “pledge” instead.
Where to Display your Parent Child Contract?
After you’ve written your family agreement contract, print it out and tape it next to the computer – either on the wall or on the desk – as a reminder of the pact you and your child have made. As your child spends time online, he may face tough choices when you’re not around. The presence of the family Internet safety contract you both signed will function as a constant reminder to stay safe and foster good digital habits.
We hope this article on the importance of a family contract has been helpful to you. If you’d like to explore the many more resources we offer, please visit our blog. Better yet, if you haven’t tried the Familoop Safeguard software, give our free trial a try. When combined with open communication and Internet contracts for kids, Familoop Safeguard software is a powerful component in keeping your kids Internet-safe and happy.