Create a Family Internet Policy

Every school year, my kids spend the first week discussing expectations for classroom behavior. They work with their teacher to develop a set of rules for how to treat each other in the classroom. Their classroom rules derive from the principles of Be Safe, Be Respectful, and Be Responsible.

For Data Privacy Month, my kids and I developed our own set of rules for how to behave online.  We started with Be Safe, Be Respectful and Be Responsible and applied them to online behavior. I kicked off our discussion by asking them questions.  What does it means to be safe online? What information is personal or private? How do you act when you are being respectful online? What does being responsible online look like? I had talked with my kids before about proper online etiquette, but this is the first year we sat down and actually wrote down a Family Internet Policy.

Tip #2 – Create a Family Internet Policy

Creating a Family Internet Policy brings everyone together on the same page. By sharing stories and information, families can see where everyone is at and what information gaps exist. This is also a great way for kids to see parents as a resource if they run into trouble or have questions.

To help with your family discussion, I have included our policy below.  This is a working document and not a comprehensive list. We plan on reviewing and updating it every year as they grow and their digital lives change. My kids are also younger. If you have older kids, I have included links to other examples to get your family started.

Our Family Internet Policy

Be Safe

  • Do not post personal information
  • Do not share passwords
  • Be careful who you friend or follow
  • Never share pictures with strangers
  • Never open email from strangers – it may contain viruses
  • Tell your parents if you see something bad or someone tries to contact you

Be Respectful

  • Always ask permission before posting someone’s picture or writing.
  • Do not write anything online you would not say to the person’s face
  • You should always be kind even if other people do not know who you are

Be Responsible

  • Protect your personal information
  • Visit only age-appropriate sites.
  • Online cheating is still cheating
  • Use privacy controls

If you missed my First Tip, check out Kicking off Data Privacy Month: Tip #1 – Googling your kid’s name.

Here are a few more examples of Family Internet Agreements: