What did you do during the endless days of summer vacation – roam the neighborhood with your friends, swim in the pool, build forts in the backyard? Today however, some kids are more likely to roam the internet, swim in a sea of media and ‘play’ on Facebook.
How do you get children to unplug, play in the sun, and stay safe when they are free from the constraints of school?
A friend of mine limits her children’s internet access in the vacation by changing the password everyday, and not giving out the new one until they have done some physical activity for at least three hours. That is a great idea, but there are other things you can do too.
You can limit the amount of time your children spend on the internet by using something called the Mikko Que, a time management system for all your home media. The box is available at insightmediaintl.com. You connect the Mikko box to all your home media and everyone gets their own USB thumb drive. Children plug their USB into the box activating the media for however long a time is stored on their thumb drive. The cable wires are stored in the locked box, so even the most tech savvy student can’t get in to change their allotment.
You can also control what your kids watch even when you are not at home with them. Net Nanny is a great resource to limit the things your children look at online, post or install. Net nanny uses a unique filter that reviews the content of a web site before displaying it. It also categorizes web content so you can block specific categories if you wish. It can also be used to check on Facebook profiles, wall posts, and anything else your children are displaying to the world.
Cell phones are a little harder to limit, and the easiest and safest way is to contact your service provider to limit access and texting. A mobile watchdog program at mymobilewatchdog.com can be downloaded so you can see all texts, pictures, and emails sent to and from your child’s phone. Kids are aware; however, that the phone is being monitored. You can also monitor your child’s phone with Mobile Spy, a program that runs silently in the background of the mobile device you install it on, to secretly monitor texts, emails, and GPS location. That program is available at mobile-spy.com. Reports are sent to you of your child’s activity. Whatever you decide to do, the best way to approach it is to first talk to your children about the limits you are setting and why. If you don’t, they may just spend their summertime working out how to thwart those very limits.