Is being online all night reasonable?

 Almost everyone I speak to still have their kids “connected” up to and often after they get to bed at night. So, no… it probably isn’t reasonable or even justified when you think about your kids. It probably is time to think about rules and technology assists, but before that, let me tell you how this became a necessity for me.

There was an occasion when I noticed my youngest son was not sleeping very well and I could hear him tossing and turning into the early morning hours. I assumed it was just a bad sleep week, until I found his iPhone hidden under his pillow. Being the “dad from hell”, I do know their device passwords (it’s a condition of use here), so proceeded to investigate.

It seemed he had been Skyping with complete strangers all around the world, that he had met through playing Minecraft. That on its own would have been enough, but most of these were not kids and too much conversation had been had for my liking.

I made sure there was nothing in those conversations to be alarmed about, blocked those users that warranted it, made sure chat logs were kept forever and then invoked an Acceptable Use Device Policy for home. With that, I also started to use technology to assist in managing those little indiscretions. 

Most parents do not realise that the home gateway device, that connects your to your broadband provider, very often has parental controls within it. In my case, I have a scheduler that can be used to restrict particular devices within the home network from having access to the Internet between certain times.

ParentalControls

With this in place, the kids can use their PCs, iPhones or tablets, but can only get connected to the outside world within reasonable hours (or with parental exception). This works a treat, and reinforces the home use policy, removing almost all of that debate and whining… (well, most of it)

Remember, you need to make sure you manage your family access and tools, so make sure you learn about the safety settings you can use to make your life easier and safer.

 

Do you worry about the kids?

Scared

Today, our kids are able to be online on dozens of different types of gadgets. Sometimes at the same time.

Each of those carries the risk of exposing them to adult content, strangers, illegal activities or tasteless gore. Much of this is happened upon unintentionally, while they are searching for something or just clicked an enticing link.

Even more scary is that it appears that when it does happen, they are very likely to not tell their parent… partly through embarrassment and partly for fear of being reprimanded (for doing the wrong thing).

A recent study showed that 72% of parents surveyed were concerned about their children interacting with strangers… without them every knowing. Despite this anxiety, only around 39% of parents understood the technologies enough to attempt to help secure them through use of privacy controls.

Yes, it is scary, but doesn’t have to be if you take practical steps toward teaching your kids and seeking to secure your environment appropriately.

As a parent, do you find yourself wondering about what the kids are up to, or exposed to, when they are their Internet connected gadgets?

Go on, tell us how you feel and see how you compare to other parents… Take part in our poll below.