Agree some ground rules

Setting rules about the way you use technology as a family

You can’t have control over everything your child does and how they behave on the internet, but having a family contract or agreement sets out some expectations of how everyone can go online positively and safely.

Being involved in setting the ‘rules’ will help your child feel that their opinion matters and that they have a say. It will help them understand why there are rules about internet use and feel fairer than being told “this will happen” without explanation.

It’s also really important that adults – you – follow the rules as well, and act as role models. Children will copy what you do and will pick up on and question you if there is one rule for them and another for adults.

Things to say:

“What rules do we need so we’re all using the internet safely?”; “What do you think should happen if someone doesn’t stick to the rules?”; “Why do you think this is a good rule?”

Example rules

Families should agree rules which are right for them, but examples of digital ground rules might include:

  • Always have the door open when using devices;
  • Put devices away at mealtimes;
  • Make sure all devices are downstairs at bedtime;
  • Tell someone if we see or read something that worries us;
  • Be open about what you are looking at online if someone asks.

You can find a template for a family agreement from Childnet here.

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