At some point, your child will ask to have internet access in their room. Whether it is for a computer or Wi-Fi to be used on a gaming device, this conversation will come up. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you navigate this discussion.
How Old Is Your Child?
Children of every age have different temptations when it comes to being online, but there are certain ages that can benefit from having easy internet access. If your child is in high school, it may be more convenient for them to have internet access from their bedroom so they can be comfortable while doing school reports, etc.
If you have a relatively young child, however, the benefits of easy internet access may not outweigh the risks, because their actual need for online time is quite small compared to what it will be later.
What Device Will Your Child Be Accessing the Internet From?
Will your child have their own personal computer or laptop in their room? Are they wanting online access simply to use certain apps? The purpose of their online use is important when choosing what decision to make.
If it's for a device that only uses Wi-Fi in order to work properly, it may not be a huge deal for your child to have easy online access. If it is a device that is not secured against unlimited searching, you may want to reconsider.
What Time Will Access End Each Night?
Will you allow your child to leave their computer on at all times, and leave your Wi-Fi on in the middle of the night? If you have children with electronic devices in their rooms, it is wise to turn off your Wi-Fi when you go to sleep. This way, your children will not be as tempted to use the internet when they should be sleeping. However, bear in mind that some devices can still access the internet without Wi-Fi being turned on.
Ask yourself about each of the children in your home. Will their sleep be affected by all-night internet? Will they be tempted to do searches that you would not approve of? Be open with yourself and think about this based on your family members, and your family dynamics.
A wise idea is for any portable electronic devices to be checked in each and every night to a place where you can keep them safely away from children who may find it difficult to resist checking their game or account “just one more time.”
How Will You Monitor Their Internet Use?
What steps will you take to make sure your child uses their internet time wisely? If they have use of the internet in their room, it can be hard to keep tabs on it. Be honest with yourself. If your child has internet access in their room, are you going to consistently request that the door stay open, or will you become tempted to let them slip into their room alone with the door closed because it offers you some easy free time?
If you are going to be consistently looking over their shoulder every now and then, shutting down Wi-Fi each night, and regularly check their browsing history… it might be ok. Otherwise, keep internet access to rooms that have more accountability built in.
The internet can be wonderful when used correctly. Remove your child’s temptation to misuse the internet by making rules that work for your family. A wise decision now will pay off for the remainder of your child’s life.