An Internet Contract for families: teaching our kids to play safe

As our kids are beginning to interact online and use the internet at an increasingly younger age, it becomes imperative that we as parents manage this use by focusing primarily on their safety. In my house we have decided to have our children sign an internet contract to ensure that they are not only are prepared to follow some simple rules, but that they fully understand the possible dangers and pitfalls of using such a powerful medium. Our children whilst technically savvy, do not always have the maturity to match, and hence we need to be constantly educating them about the many aspects of repsonabile online use. Having a contract not only makes them accountable for what they are doing online, but it helps us bring up some of the issues they may not have previously considered. It is important that you all know that these points are fully understood before you sign away. Usually I would see something like contracts as too formal for my family, however in this instance I believe it a great tool in starting up the conversations and making our kids accountable. It is not so much about the punishments and the contract as such, but more about having our kids recognise the importance of being aware of these issues to ensure they are able to make appropriate and safe choices for their online interactions.

Please feel free to print out and use for your family ๐Ÿ™‚

internet contract

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This Post Has 28 Comments

    1. Martine

      Thanks Rachel x

  1. Misha

    The concept of a written contract for use with internet usage is a great idea as the kids get older. Because the computer is in the home, it’s easy to view it as something safe and benign. This is a good way to reinforce vigilance.

    1. Martine

      It is a very common misconception that just because something is at home then it is safe. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Grace

    I agree, Martine. It’s about accountability and letting them understand the importance of being aware. What’s great about this contract is that it opens up discussion. As with any contract, it’s one that you can sit down and go through each point with your child before they sign it.

    1. Martine

      The discussion part is definitely the most important aspect. We found it really useful with our kids as there were some things they were completely ok with and other things they hadn’t thought about.

  3. This is a great contract because it’s also educational – it alerts the user to a bunch of risks they might not even have been aware of.

    1. Martine

      Thanks Rachel, yes it is all about alerting all of us to the potential dangers and pitfalls. Sometimes we don’t know how much of an idea our kids have about different issues and this helps to clarify for everyone.

  4. Jess

    This is such a fantastic contract Martine. Taylah is just getting to the age where I think this would be very helpful.
    It’s hard, because at her fathers house, she has an iPod touch, and he is very lax about everything. I found I was sending her theree with instructions and it was just crazy, because I was panicking so much.
    Something like this would take the stress out of that situation.

    1. Martine

      Thanks Jess I am glad you found it useful. And as you said we can’t keep track of them all the time so this is a good way to help keep them accountable for themselves and their own behaviours.

  5. Rhianna

    I am definitely printing this one out, what a wonderful way to approach the subject! Thanks for sharing

    1. Martine

      Thanks Rhianna, glad you found it useful.

  6. Yvette Bowyer

    What a great concept for children these days!!!

    1. Martine

      Thanks Yvette ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Hans Jensen

    Oh wow. I just found this blog searching “modern parents” on Google. But this is far from modern parenting. Making them sign contracts, really?
    Modern parenting is raising critical minds and trust that they won’t meet up with a stranger they met online.

    1. Martine

      Absolutely it is about raising critical minds but as the ages of our children using this technology gets younger we have to be realistic in what they are able to critically evaluate for themselves. At 7 or 8 they have little foresight in terms of consequences. It is our role as parents to help bring light to the many issues their developing brains will not have thought about. From here we can help them by discussing these issues in order for them to learn valuable skills in critically thinking about their actions. It is naive to think that they will have this knowledge as a matter of course and I for one am not willing to take the risk.

  8. Me

    What a great tool !!! I’m just sorry I never came across this many years ago when it would have helped us !!!!
    Have a great day !

  9. kirri

    Thank you Marty! This xmas is going to be the year that we finally deliver an iPad and iPod into the highly expectant hands of our girls. I’ll definitely be sitting down with my them and going through this contract. A brilliant resource x

  10. Louy

    Nice idea! Is it okay if I translate it?

    1. Martine Oglethorpe

      yes sure, as long as it is credited back to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

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