This past week, Riley spent her first spring break at Girls, Inc. They had a really cool itinerary filled with various exercises and sports, including a trip to aerial yoga and a CrossFit gym. It was a week of workouts I have to admit I was a bit jealous of, and I was certain that she would come home with a new activity that she had fallen in love with. What would it be? Lacrosse? Soccer? Yoga?
Well, she did indeed come home with a new love. But, it wasn’t an activity. It was Roblox. What is Roblox, you ask? It is an online gaming platform that has tons of “immersive” games kids can play. You get to build an avatar and buy things. I haven’t quite figured out the buy things part or really any part, but I plan to get the full rundown from Lesley. Story has been into this for awhile. I’m sure there are many other super cool things about the system I’ll get to learn. Although I must admit I’d rather learn about aerial yoga. A few of my friends had began to encounter problems with gaming and their children so I knew it was coming. My sister’s son used an online site called LeagueSmurfs.com to buy a gaming account, which he really enjoyed playing.
While I might not be jumping for joy over her new interest, Riley is very excited, and as a mom I know there is no sense in fighting it. We created her username and password, and she had me text it to Story so that they could find each other in the system. With Riley still learning to read, I mentioned to Lesley that they wouldn’t be able to use the chat feature for awhile.
“It will be faster than you think,” she replied.
I knew she was right. It will be faster than I think. Then I got a bit panicky. My six-year-old daughter could potentially be using online chat features soon. Online chat features filled with who knows who. She might know our house fire safety plan, but does she know how to stay safe online? And the better question, do I know how to keep her safe online?
I needed to do some research. Here is what I discovered. It isn’t just stranger danger that you need to be aware of with your kids online. They also need to know how to keep their identity and the computer safe. It seems so intuitive but certainly not anything I had thought of. Until now, their only use of the computer had been on YouTube. Now we needed to make some rules. And so we did.
Our Computer Rules:
- Strangers online are just like strangers in real life. Never tell them where you live or any personal information. That means your real name, birth date, address, or school name. If a site is asking for your information, get Mom.
- Never give anyone your password. Even if they are your friend.
- All usernames and passwords must be shared with Mom and not changed.
- No downloading of anything without permission from Mom.
- If something is upsetting in a chat room, whether its mean or weird or anything, let Mom know.
- Don’t be mean to anyone.
- Never post any pictures of yourself unless Mom gives permission.
That’s what we’ve come up with so far. Have other or better ones? Let me know! A mom can use all the good advice she can get on this topic.