5 people have answered
It’s standard to agree to an acceptable computer use policy when you start an office job – often a convoluted document warning you against repeatedly refreshing your eBay auctions or sending aggressive emails to your local MP. But a well-written list of rules for computer use in the home can not only keep your children safe by promoting responsible internet use, but also help defuse potentially explosive family arguments.
The following is an example of a ‘Family Acceptable Use Policy’ that I have developed with foster carers in my
Within this household the following rules apply to use of the internet:
No one is allowed to go to pornographic, racist or any hate motivated or inappropriate websites – If you accidently open such a site you should tell a parent immediately so they can delete it from the ‘history’ folder
Never use abusive or threatening language in chat or any other online communication (including when online gaming)
Do not start a private text or voice chat (e.g. on Facebook Chat) with anyone you don’t know ‘in person’
Before accepting a ‘friend request’ (via social media or online gaming), speak to that person to ensure it was really was from them
Never be online for more than 30 minutes at a time (this can be extended according to age and responsibility)
Children should not download unknown files from the internet without the agreement of their carer - it is advisable to never download unknown files at all
No one is allowed to download, burn to CD, or pass on any music, images or movies downloaded from the internet
Children should only use child-friendly search engines like Yahoo! Kids
Would you ask your kids to ‘sign up to’ a set of rules? What would you add for your family?
Let's be precise about the meaning of 'computer'. On average young people have access to five different internet connected devices in the home so this is not as straightforward as it first seems. That's pretty sobering isn't it?
It's good practise and pretty much everyone understands that the 'main' computer should be in an open environment with easy supervision. But what about all the other devices, iPad's, iPod's, games consoles, smartphones etc? They are all means of communication and should not be forgotten in the melee. No matter how much software or technology we employ to manage or monitor them, at the end of the day young people will use technology in the ways they wish to use it, not necessarily the same as our wishes, hopes or expectations!
So, education is the key. Active involvement from parents and other stakeholders is essential to safe use of the internet and technology overall. There are now masses of resources out there to guide concerned parents and one I came across just yesterday that offers excellent guidance can be found at
Whilst this site is focused on schools, the information is equally valuable to parents. There are dozens of other resources if you look.
I do hope this is all helpful!
Kind wishes to all,
Always supervise the computer - make sure it's in the living room so that you can see the Facebook (lots of children log onto Facebook, but under age (13).
Always monitor the chat that is taking place because my son sent a nasty message to his friend last night on his iPod Touch (been taken away).
Always monitor Skype, and Instant Messenger (always turn the chat log on).
The best rule is to keep all mobile devices and PCs in a common room where parents can see what kids are doing, and kids know parents can look over their shoulder at any time. All mobile devices should be in the kitchen at night, recharging. No use of PCs or mobile phones in the bedroom.
We make a free child-safe browser for the iPad/iPhone called McGruff SafeGuard Browser, See gomcgruff.com/browser
Keep the computer in a family room (not in bedrooms)
If you are under 16, you must let parents know what your Facebook password is
A lengthy discussion about the importance of thinking before you write, and how permanent damage can be caused. We liken putting something on Facebook as shouting it across a room to someone you know - if you wouldnt be happy doing that, or your friend would be upset at you shouting it, then dont post it.
No installing anything without permission
No downloading anything without permission