Organizing and setting rules or ‘family policies‘ for internet use is not only going to help you supervise your children’s online activities effectively but will also give you the opportunity to steer your child towards using the internet for productive reasons such as accessing useful information and engaging in educational activities including school homework! Once you have established a policy which works for your family, you should think about rewarding your children for respecting the boundaries of the agreement while continuing to encourage them to balance a work/ play approach to online life.
Think about introducing a reward system where time spent on learning activities is rewarded with free-to-use internet time, for social media or gaming. There are lots of great websites and apps for younger children that have interactive games and puzzles focused on educational outcomes available online.
Earning time to spend playing video games or on social media will help your child to value the time they spend online and encourage them to use the internet productively.
Use the periodic upgrades of new products such as iPhones and consoles as benchmarks for review of your child’s online behavior. If it is financially viable – use the new models as goals and rewards for adhering to your rules and engaging in well balanced internet use.
Disputes and arguing are now commonplace for children when gaming online. Consider using the launch of new titles as rewards for periods without trouble or for balancing their education/game time effectively.
Most children want social media accounts, some even before they are ‘officially’ allowed to have them. This is a decision that only you can make based on your child’s level of maturity. If your child is old enough, or you consider them ready for social media – consider a period of ‘proving’ they are ready for social media access by closely supervising their activities. Reward them with unsupervised social media access only when you are 100% confident that they are ready and also that they will come to you with any problems that they encounter.