A Family Internet Safety Contract is a great tool to teach kids how to stay safe online and discuss family rules and expectations.
If you hand the contract to your child and ask them to read and sign without reading through it together, you are missing out on the most important part of the contract ¦ the discussion.
Research shows that about 85% of teens don't tell their parents when they are upset about something that has happened online.
Why don't they tell their parents? They don't know how their parents will react. Will they take the computer away? Will they call the other person's parents? Will they rush up to the school and make a scene? Or will they sit down with their teen, listen and work together on a solution?
When you go through the contract with your child or teen, discuss the safety concerns and talk about steps to take when faced with these issues. Discuss solutions together and add the notes to the contract, so you can refer to them later.
Teens share more information with parents that listen and don't overreact. When parents and teens come up with solutions together, before they happen, teens feel more comfortable sharing these issues.
The contract below can be printed for your family to discuss, make changes if needed and sign. Agree on a place to keep the contract that is close and can be referred to easily. Parents may feel the best place is out in the open next to the computer. Although, that sounds like a good idea, it could be an issue for some teens that don't want their friends to see it. Remember, this is a personal, private contract.
In exchange for the privilege of having and using digital devices, including a computer and a cell phone, provided by my parents, I agree to the following:
- I will give my parents my user names and passwords for all sites I use and I will not share these with anyone else.
- I will talk to my parents before setting up social network sites and set privacy settings together.
- I will not friend anyone that I do not personally know and have met, without my parent's permission.
- I will not give out personal information including full name, age, address, city, phone numbers, email, school, etc. without my parent's permission.
- I will never agree to meet with anyone offline that I only know online without checking with my parents. If we agree it will be in a public place with one of my parents.
- I will tell my parents if I receive any messages that make me uncomfortable or are upsetting. We will discuss and agree on appropriate actions, which may include blocking.
- I will be a good digital citizen and will not do anything that hurts other people or is against the law. I will not bully anyone online, send or post pictures or video without permission. I will not set up fake profiles or create pages or websites that are mean or intended to hurt someone. I will remove any picture or video that has been requested to be removed.
- If I post anything mean or inappropriate I will take responsibility, rectify the situation if I can and accept consequences.
- I will not use technology to cheat (schoolwork, games, etc.)
- I understand that everything on the internet is not always true or correct. I will verify and use reputable sites for research.
- I will not download anything or install software/apps, fill out surveys/contests or give out my email address without my parent's permission.
- I understand that everything I put online (comments, posts, pictures & videos), including anonymous comments, has the ability to become public and remain online forever. I will not post, comment, or send anything that I wouldn't want my family, teachers, college admissions or future bosses to see.
- If I realize my online reputation has been compromised in any way, I will discuss with my parents immediately and take appropriate action.
- I will talk to my parents about rules for going online. And we will agree on when, how long and what sites I will visit. I will not access other sites or break these rules without their permission.
- I understand that my parents are concerned about my safety and my online reputation. I recognize that my safety is very important and I may disagree with my parents but I will obey their rules.
- My parents agree to talk to me about their concerns before automatically saying no .
- If I friend my parents on social network sites, so they can monitor me, they agree not to post anything unless we agree.
- We have discussed and I understand the consequences for breaking any part of this contract.
My parents reserve the right to make exceptions, modify, update or add to this contract.
Printable Version of the Family Internet Safety Contract
This contract is available for you to print out and use for your family. If you have any comments or additional points, please comment below.