In this new everything-is-connected-to-everything world, what can we do to keep them safe while they grow? I offer a few suggestions from experience, both mine and those of people I trust.
- Establish good communication channels, and keep them open. The home is an educational institution. The best teachers listen twice as much as they speak. Eat meals together without the TV on. Study from the "best books" together. Pray together. Set aside a special time to visit with each child and don't deviate. My favorites are tucking them into bed, and when they're too old for that, taking them to lunch or dinner.
- As physical walls protect from earthly elements, spiritual walls protect from that which can harms the spirit. Learning self mastery is essential, "walling off" danger zones with rules and tools is possible and necessary.
- Keep computer displays in plain sight and out of bedrooms. Is this not a no-brainer?
- Set and enforce time limits. Tools: TimesUpKidz!
- Practice regular oversight and review using Web accountability/Parental Internet control ($)CovenantEyes, OpenDNS (Free) K9 Web Protection
Much more has been and could be said, but mentioning these few links is a good starting point for many family-centered homes. I welcome your experiences on the rules and tools that you (or your parents) have used.