When you’re establishing the practicalities of limiting kids’ online activities, remember this: what you teach them now will not just keep them safe whilst they’re young, it’ll help to set their internet habits for the rest of their lives.
Getting into good habits at the outset is really important. Lots of kids get into trouble when they go to college because, unsupervised, they spend all their time playing online games, becoming increasingly obsessed by the game worlds. It’s important to make sure children understand that, whilst they’re fun, games like this are just a hobby and should be set aside if there are more important things to do – especially things like homework. Playing a game can be a reward at the end of the day for getting everything done. It shouldn’t be done first, whilst work is postponed, meaning that running over time risks the work not getting done at all.
When kids get back from school they often need the chance to bow off some steam, and talking to friends is a good way to do that. This is a good time to let them use chat rooms. If you set about limiting kids’ online activities by establishing strict times for things like this, you can stop them from getting carried away and chatting when they ought to be working or when you’d like them to enjoy some family time. Acknowledge that being online is fun, but make sure it stays in its place as just one part of life, not an activity which can be allowed to dominate everything else.
Establishing good internet habits early in life makes it much easier for young people to keep on living fully rounded lives as they get older, with plenty of physical activity as well as time spent in front of the computer. This will help to keep them happy and healthy, with lots of opportunities to look forward to.