The Importance of Communicating Online & Mobile Safety Rules to Caregivers

I always thought that my husband and I made our rules pretty clear when it came to screen time use in our home. Babysitters and grandparents knew that our kids weren’t to be on the computer unsupervised. They needed to ask permission before using gaming systems. Screen time limits apply to the total amount of time spent on all devices with screens. But we never thought that the rules outside our home would be any different when our children were staying with grandparents who knew our house rules.

We were wrong.

After coming home from a solo trip to their grandparents, our then 7-year-old daughter told us about their weekend. She had some burning questions about the sheep her grandmother was raising and together they looked on Google for the answers. Our daughter then proceeded to tell us that she stayed on the computer and continued to Google without her grandmother.

A seven-year-old on Google alone is never a good idea.

There are too many opportunities for misspellings of search terms that could lead to inappropriate content for young eyes. I thought the grandparents in our kids’ lives knew this since it was a house rule that they aren’t to be left unsupervised on the computer for this very reason.

This taught us a lesson.

The rules in our house for our kids were not the same when the walked out the door and went elsewhere. While grandparents know now that the same rules apply, our kids are older. They’re going to play dates at friends’ houses where they’re using the computer unsupervised and while I can’t control what goes on in their friends’ houses, I can only hope that our kids exercise good judgment about appropriate content and balancing out screen time with other activities when they’re with their friends.

How do you ensure that your children remain safe online and through mobile devices even when they’re not with you?

Young girl with headset and using the laptop computer via Shutterstock.

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