In twenty five years you'll be sitting at the dinner table with your grown kids and you'll see the by-product of your many years of raising them. Your kids might have kids of their own and may be starting their journey of parenthood!
As a parent you choose how many minutes you spend with each one of your kids each day, does 25 minutes a day sound like a lot, or not many at all depending on your daily schedule?
With almost 9.5 million minutes in your children's lives before they turn eighteen and you send them off to college, parents (or care givers) are the biggest influence in the life of a young inspiring mind.
"Watching TV, playing video games, listening to music and surfing the Internet has become a full-time job for the typical American child.”
Make sure you don't let your kids fall into the habit of spending their day in front of the TV, or on the internet all day, because somebody will end up spending more than 25 minutes a day with your kids. Will they be teaching your kids what you want them to learn?
As a grandma or grandpa it is pretty easy to say to your kids;
- "One day, God willing, you'll have one JUST like you."
- "When I was your age - I had to walk (10+++) miles to school....."
- "Just WAIT till your father gets home!"
- "You'll understand when you are a parent."
- "I was not born yesterday, Mister."
- "There are starving people in Africa who would gladly eat your dinner!"
- "Don't burn the candle at both ends."
- "You kids will be the death of me yet."
But now with your grand-kids you will want to make sure mom and dad are doing a good job... and the way to make sure of this is that you do a GOOD job... NOW!
Internet safety: Who’s teaching our kids?
The ideal situation?
- Parents/guardians should be the ones to first introduce kids to the Internet. They would guide their kids on how to technically use it, but also how to be good, safe citizens of it. They should consider how and when their kids access the Internet as they age – through a cell phone, personal laptop, at a friend’s house, through an iPod touch or video game console. They don’t need to become expert in all things Internet safety all at once, but focus on the relevant sites and devices their kids are using through various times of their life. (Surfing websites from a home PC, texting on a cell phone, social networking on their own laptop/cell phone.)
- Schools should provide internet safety education. This would begin around age 8 or 9 when kids are using the Internet more heavily for school and when many of them may be on the verge of getting a cell phone. As kids near their teen years, some newer issues will need to be addressed such as using social networking sites, cyberbullying, sexting, etc. Kids would need to understand the rules for using the internet both on school property and with their classmates as well as being safe when they use the Internet anywhere and with anyone.
- Schools and parents together should try to institute parent education via a parent-teacher organization forum (PTO, PTA, PTSO, home-school association, etc.). Teachers should make parents aware when computers, specifically Internet-connected devices, will be introduced to kids during school and for what purpose. Both groups should discuss where the boundaries are in terms of disciplinary action when students violate Internet use policies, in or out of school. It should be very clear what, when, how, and who will take on any necessary disciplinary action.
- School technology departments should employ the appropriate infrastructure to keep kids safe online while using school equipment or while on school property. They should develop acceptable use policies that reflect a broad range of internet safety issues (such as bullying, etc.). This would require a true collaboration between the school’s IT department, the administration, and parents. Student information – like anyone’s personal information – could be at risk of theft or misuse. So IT departments should be using technology that can best keep this information secure from those who may be trying to take advantage of students.
- Older kids should mentor younger students. This is already done in many schools to encourage the development of literacy skills. During her kindergarten year, my daughter was happily paired with a 4th grade reading buddy. In an ideal situation, schools would do the same to encourage digital literacy.
- Technology companies should consider kids safety from the beginning. Many organizations can impact kids’ online safety – from the services that kids use online (social networks, gaming sites, entertainment sites for viewing, listening to or downloading things) to the way kids get connected to those services (laptop, cell phone, video game console, etc.) The consideration of kids’ safety is happening to some/varying degree among technology companies, through self-governance, pressure from advocacy groups, and government regulation. But I think as parents and teachers become increasingly educated about the issues, it is in these companies’ best interest to consider kids’ online safety in the early stages of product development. They risk being labeled ‘unsafe’ (or at the very least, ‘uncaring’) otherwise.
“Your children are the greatest gift God will give to you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in your hands. Take time with them, teach them to have faith in God. Be a person in whom they can have faith. When you are old, nothing else you've done will have mattered as much.” ― Lisa Wingate
Please, Take 25 minutes a day to spend quality moments with each one of your KIDS… no matter what is going on you will all learn more about each other and have a deeper respect for one another.
Your kids will learn to love and respect you more and they will have a better chance of making it through all peer pressure that is continually surrounding them. Form a bond with your kids that will help them through the online extreme pitfalls and life in general!