I received compensation from Starry Station for this post. All opinions are my own.
As a mom raising kids today, the internet can be such a scary and intimidating thing to let your kids have access to. There are fabulous things to be found on the internet, and just as many horrible things to be found. I’ve been doing a lot of different research, and trial and error with my own 4 kids to come up with some ideas on how to keep control of the internet at home and with your family.
7 ways to keep you in control of the internet within your home and with your family.
1. Know what your kids are using/browsing.
Regularly check what is on your child’s device. Possibly have them turn their device in each night when they go to bed. Don’t just threaten that you can look at their device at anytime, actually do it! It will make them think twice if they were planning to download anything questionable.
Be a “friend” on all of their social media accounts and keep all passwords. More than privacy, your child needs to learn how to use technology safely, and these safeguards will help them think twice about all interactions online.
2. Put limits on screen time. Limit the amount of time they can be on the internet and devices each day, and what times are acceptable.
Every family expectations and child’s age is different, and so you have to figure out what works for your situation. In general with our family, our kids get 1/2 hour of device time on school days and an hour of device time on non-school days. Also, our dinner table is a device-free zone, and kids don’t get to take their devices to bed, they check them in at night.
Now, I don’t pretend that my kids don’t get away with longer screen time here and there, and that there isn’t the occasional text checking while we’re eating dinner. Starry Station allows me to pause some or all devices from the internet during times that I want my family focused such as dinner time, homework, reading time, or bedtime. It is so easy to set schedules on the Starry Station, or just pause it on the touchscreen. Also, at a glance, you can see what devices are currently hooked up to the internet at any given time. An easy way to check in if your kids are on the internet when they are supposed to be doing other things…
3. Know who your kids come in contact with on the internet.
Make sure that you have access to all of their social media accounts. It helps kids think twice about what they are posting if they know their parent will be reading it. It is very helpful to see what types of people your child interacts with online and on social media. As a parent, you can see red flags that your children won’t see.
Filtering the internet that comes into your house will give you some peace of mind that any devices browsing will be safer from unwanted sites. Starry Station has filtering capabilities in the parental controls. It is wonderful to be able to filter the internet coming into your home, not just through the device that your child might have.
4. Know all the up and coming apps and websites.
As an adult, it is truly difficult to know what the kids think is cool and are using on their devices. It is so helpful if you can find a teenager (one you trust and hopefully older than your children), and learn about all the latest apps and websites that kids are using. Learn from them how to use the apps and it will help you decide whether or not they will be allowed in your family. The popular apps and websites change all the time, and it is fantastic if you have someone on the inside helping you out.
5. Make family time–screen free time.
Pokemon hunting as a family, or a parent/child date is so much fun, and watching youtube videos with your child can be hilarious, but make sure that your family is interacting without the devices too. Family game nights, Family evenings at home, or family projects are so important to the development of your child, and to creating meaningful, lasting relationships. Make sure that some time with your family is away from the screens.
I love that Starry Station allows you to completely pause the wifi coming in. Give your family a break and play Bananagrams without interruptions, or work on that paper mache craft with everyone focused on the project at hand.
6. Teach your kids how to be safe on the internet on their own.
This one is so important. I would love to put my kids into a plastic bubble and only let them see/hear/interact with what I want them to. However, that is IMPOSSIBLE! You can’t be with your child every moment of the day, and it is impossible to see every search they do, or website they visit. Teach your kids how to be safe on the internet so that they know what to do when the time comes. Teach them not to give out personal information, how to browse safely, and what to do when they come across something inappropriate.
7. Filter your internet, and also teach your children STOP, CRASH, TELL.
No matter how much you prepare and teach your children, there will be times when junk will get past. Filtering your internet is so important and a basic first step to keeping your family browsing safely. Starry Station allows you to filter the internet entering your home with the parental controls. Do everything you can to keep unwanted internet out of your house. When something does creep through, teach your children how to STOP looking at it, CRASH it (close the cover, hit the power, flip it over), and TELL an adult so that you can figure out how to deal with what has gotten through.
Technology is a part of our lives and a HUGE part of our children’s lives from here on out. We need to make sure that we are taking the steps to keep them safe, teaching them how to maneuver it, and keep aware of what they are doing.
Starry Station is an AMAZING wifi router that is so much more than a router. It gives the parent control of various aspects of the internet in your home through filtering, scheduling, and pausing the internet. It actually has so many more cool features (checking wifi speeds, usage, easy to use touchscreen and smartphone app, etc.) that you’ll have to go to Starry Station to see!