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Create A Family Internet Policy

Creating a family internet policy

Forming an internet policy for your family can be a great way of setting boundaries for younger internet and social media users within the household. It can be worked on together and can allow for different levels of access for the different ages of internet users within the home.

Once you’ve agreed your family’s internet policy, write it up and keep it where you can all see it, for example, next to the home computer or in a communal area like the kitchen or hallway. You could call it your “Home Internet Policy”, “Family Computer Rules,” or something similar.

How to create a family internet policy

There are many things to consider when creating a family internet policy and it should be a ‘work in motion’ rather than individual rules set in stone. Finding a healthy balance between work and play is key to a successful family internet policy that is respected by everybody. See the points below for some of the areas that you might want to consider when forming your policy:

  • When and where – Restrictions on the amount of time spent online or the areas of the home that the internet can be accessed from (such as bedtime) can be useful to address.
  • What to do – Who to go to within the family if cyberbullying or online abuse should occur, and also which external organizations should be contacted for help and support if needed.
  • Netiquette – A basic understanding of netiquette is required for anybody to use the internet in a productive way.
  • Access – Some users might be old enough or ‘ready’ to access some platforms that others within the household aren’t. Make sure the policy contains details of these allowances and restrictions but remember to review the agreement periodically, so that those who are deemed ‘not ready’ recognize that the situation is temporary and will change in the future.
  • Password management – Make sure everybody knows how important it is to use strong passwords. Try and encourage your family to spend time working on a system for creating memorable, strong passwords so that they can continue to remain safe in the future. Discourage the ‘throw away’ password mindset.

Verbal agreement still works!

If you would prefer your family’s internet safety policy to just be a verbal agreement, that’s fine too. The fact that you have made your children aware of the dangers and what you are doing to help protect them is the most important step. Each family’s online needs, abilities and routines are different, so decide what approach is going to work best for you and your family.