Safety Tip #1: Eat dinner together as a famiily

Sometimes it's the little things we do that make the biggest difference.

by Larry Magid

During the question and answer period of one of my Internet safety
speeches, someone asked if I could tell her the most important thing
parents can do to protect their kids online.

 I thought
about it for a moment and quickly rejected the obvious answers such as
keep your computer in a central place in the home, monitor what the
kids are doing and make sure your kids understand basic safety rules.
Those are all useful tips but what the number one safety tip is this: Eat dinner together as a family.

I
realize that advice is very low tech but it really does help protect
kids on the Internet and in every other aspect of their lives. Safety
isn't about following rigid rules, it's about applying critical
thinking and good sense to situations that you find yourself in
.
And it's also about an open dialog between family members. The only way
you can help really protect your kids online is to understand what they
are doing and what challenges they face — and have a good enough
relationship with them that they will come to you if there is a problem.

So,
whether you're a big family or a little family,  a family of one parent
and one kid or two or more of each — eat dinner together, have
conversations and be open to your kids' comments and ideas. It will pay
dividends for years to come

 

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