I was sitting in church when I heard the best idea, during a sermon. It is really so brilliant because I have worried so many times about letting our kids have e-mail accounts or Instagram account or Facebook, etc…
Now, our kids are still young (you can see them here), so it isn’t a worry for me just yet, but it’s not too far in our future.
Go ahead and set them up their account.
The key to this:
YOU keep the password.
Your kids do not know it.
To keep them from logging in automatically, be sure to log them out each time when they are finished and do not check that little box that says “Remember my password.” This would defeat the purpose of knowing their secret password. The reason that I love this idea is that it lets you control what is happening.
You will go in before they do and you will go through their account, to be sure that it is safe for them to read. Check their e-mail messages, check their Facebook messages, check the pictures that they are about to look at, no matter who or what is in the picture.
I know that some parents will say that this is a breach of privacy, but honestly, in this day and age, I really don’t want them to have this kind of privacy. If they are afraid for me to see something, chances are they should not be reading it in the first place. It is my job to stop them from doing or reading anything now that will impact their future in a negative way.
You are being their protector & their parent, so do not feel bad about doing this… it is your job to keep them safe.
So, when they ask you for the password- what do you do?
Ask them a few questions of their own first…
1- ‘Will you be able to resist checking an inappropriate spam e-mail that is titled “Take a look inside of my dorm room”?’
2- ‘Will you be able to resist the urge to gossip about someone when you get a message saying “Did you hear what ___ did today? What do you know about it?”‘
Chances are they will not be able to answer yes… yet. Give them a few more years.
When they ARE ready for it, give them one rule:
YOU MAY NEVER CHANGE THIS PASSWORD UNTIL YOU HAVE MOVED OUT OF THE HOUSE (or gotten married or turned 18… whatever you decide to be the best choice for your child).
Because you have the power to make the password whatever you want, so you can make it something that will be ingrained into their thoughts. It will stay with them every day. They will be typing it over and over, saying it in their minds as they type it.
At church, the password example was JESUS IS LORD. Every day, the children had to type this and remember it. You could do something similar or something like “MY FAMILY LOVES ME.” or “I MAKE GOOD CHOICES.” You get the idea, I’m sure.
In the end, just remember that it is our job to protect our children and we need to take that job seriously. This is just one more way to do it.
Since posting this, I get one question over and over… “What is to stop them from making an account themselves?”
My answer is simple – I don’t know. I don’t know how to stop it. I just hope that I can. I always monitor what they do. Mickey and I can’t be everywhere with all four of them. We can’t do it all, but we have raised our kids as well as we know how so that I hope that I am teaching them to trust and obey us.
I have also made it very clear that I have full access to everything: iPods, computers, etc… I will continue to have access to these things. I check their iPods every day, without warning, whenever I like. They are not to take them into their room (they are all charged in the kitchen in the day or in our bedroom at night).
Their friends’ parents are the same way, so I can trust that they know this when they go to a friend’s house. Maybe when they are older, it will be harder, but then my job to keep them safe will be more necessary than every before. In the meantime, teach them to use these social media platforms. If you aren’t teaching them, someone else is. Be their first teacher… even before they have an account.
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