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Monitoring your Child’s Online Activity

Source: Google Images

Source: Google Images

You are a parent, your kids are growing up.

You are now thinking about how can we keep a watch on our kids online activity, without being too intrusive?

Quite frankly, I have no ideas on how to do this. But I asked myself a question Why should I keep a watch? After all I trust my kid when he goes out, I trust him to look after himself if I give him a car, etc. The thought of giving him a car leads me to think about driving, driving licence, etc.

Ah! Here is a possibility. What about giving an ‘Internet Licence’ to my kid? The idea of licence leads to me ‘driving lessons’ and the ‘driving test’.

Also Read: Keeping your Kids Safe Online

So the first thing I decide to do is to spend time with my kid, using the internet. I issue a ‘learner’s licence’ and he uses the internet in my presence for 15 days. We agree on what he can do and what will be considered an ‘internet offence’ – for which he will get a ticket. I give him a licence once I am satisfied that he can look after himself.

Then I remembered what my niece Anusha Jaishankar has done in Bangalore to encourage responsible driving. Her campaign is called Positive Strokes, and rewards drivers who do the right things on the road. This has resulted in better driving behaviour on the roads and she has figures to prove that.

Therefore I am looking at the equivalent of Positive Strokes. We agree that I can play the cop from time to time to maintain safety. We agree on what is good ‘internet’ behaviour. We agree on what he can do and what is not appropriate for him. We agree on how many hours a day he can be on the ‘road’. We set up a system of rewards similar to the Positive Strokes programme. We look at net positive scores and every fortnight he can redeem his points for something he wants.

What is my wife’s role? She is the licensing authority and the judge in the traffic court.

Also Read: Online Safety for Children

Will all this work? I have a feeling it will and here is why:

  1. It is based on mutual trust and respect.
  2. The metaphor of driving, road safety, tickets etc. might add an element of fun.
  3. Rewards for positive behaviour will take the sting out of ‘watching’.

I hope somebody tries this and lets all of us know if this works!


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Sridhar Ramanathan is the Founder of IDEASRS, where he is also a Strategic Innovation Coach. Sridhar’s mission in life is “to help those who want to do things better and differently”. His work involves conducting creative problem solving workshops for clients, and buidling competencies in creativity and innovation. He also blogs at www.ideasrs.com.

6 thoughts on “Monitoring your Child’s Online Activity

  1. Kritika Srinivasan

    What an innovative way to consider online safety! You are so right – this is almost like a fun activity that children can take up, and we can monitor them without being intrusive. Will definitely try this when my child is a little older and starts going online regularly!

  2. sia.mitra@gmail.com

    Yes this is the attitude to have. Whether it is for cyber security or just about anything. After all we cannot be breathing down their neck forever.

  3. Rima

    Thank You Sridhar for bringing more awareness through this topic and your licensing methods. Sounds fun and a totally innovative technique :)

    I believe it is best to allow kids to use only a DESKTOP and one that is placed in the high traffic area of your house. This way everyone can keep a watch plus the kids are more conscious. This can also help you regulate the duration + a time deadline daily beyond which they cannot operate the desktop e.g. after 7pm. The issue is not only about trusting your kids; the importance is also in not trusting the several other sources on the internet whether human and man-made. http://mystyrimz.wordpress.com/

  4. Swati Nitin Gupta

    Pretty interesting and an innovative idea. Will definitely give it a try. Thank you for such an insightful post


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