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Monday, May 6, 2013

Parent's Guidelines to Family Computer Use

By David Smith
1. Your attitude about computing and the Internet is 90% of the battle. If you look at the computing world as "nothing but evil," you will not deter your child's use of the Net, but will succeed in driving them underground. Similarly, if you see the Net as just a big playground where nothing really bad can happen to you or yours, then don't be surprised when your children find themselves caught up in some darkness you never dreamed would enter their life.
    There is plenty of good attitude road to drive on between the ditches of "it's all bad" and "nothing bad can happen." Computers are like any other powerful instrument or tool - when used correctly and with care, they can be very useful and productive; when used unwisely or without training, someone can get hurt. Grow a "I can use this wisely" attitude and foster that sort of thinking in your children.
2. Remember that as a parent, you set the bar and the example for your child's computing. Practice what you preach. If you want your child to have a cautious, critical eye toward all they encounter on the Net, then have a critical eye toward yourself. Do not own or use any 'pirated' software. Do not pass along e-mails that speak of things falsely. Refuse to pass along questionable material. Do not be guilty of practicing promiscuous surfing (clicking on ads, going to just any ol' site that is suggested to you, etc.).
3. Your mere presence on the Net sends a message and makes a difference. If your child is Internet-minded, you cannot afford not to be. If you know your child regularly surfs certain websites, you need to become familiar with those sites yourself. If your child has a Facebook  account, you should have a Facebook account and make active use of it, etc.
4. Model the behavior you want to see in your children by doing as much of your computing as possible in a totally open fashion. When you are online, do so where anyone can walk in at anytime and see what you're doing. Make your computing habits transparent and expect the same of every member of your family.
5. Read up and stay current on what's happening in the computing world. You need to know what's going on in this ever-changing, technology-centered world your children are immersed in. Find helpful articles in the Houston Chronicle (www.chron.com/news/science ).
    Subscribe to a free computing newsletter like those put out by Kim Komando (www.komando.com ). Refuse to be content with being clueless.
6. Keep some simple software helps in place on all your family's computers and show your family how to make good use of them. For example, install McAfee's free SiteAdvisor (www.siteadvisor.com ). SiteAdvisor color-codes the websites you search for – before you click on them – as to whether they have been tested and verified to be free of malware or if they are known sites that traffic in shady practices.
7. Lawn care experts will tell you the best way to grow a healthy lawn is not to spend your time fighting weeds, but to do all you can to grow good grass. The same holds true for your family's computing habits. Consistently planting good stuff and nurturing it helps push the bad stuff out of the yard. "... whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Philippians  4:8)Continually steer your family toward the good, healthy things you find on the Internet and encourage them to share the good stuff they find with you.

- via The Family Friend, a monthly newsletter published by the Calvert City Church of Christ, Calvert City, KY.  It is an excellent resource for articles relating to the family.  To learn more consult the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com


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