Teen – parent agreement about Internet use
Because of the continuing abuse of technology by way of cyberbullying, we offer below an Agreement for parents, children and teenagers to review. It is from a research website that promotes cybersafety. www.cyberbullying.org offers current statistics about bullying, both traditional and cyber, sexting and other behaviors. Professors Justin W. Patchin and Sameer Hinduja have worked in this area for many years and contribute their findings for the benefit of students, educators and parents.
They preface the Agreement with this statement: “This is a formal agreement to be signed by both parents and children to help facilitate an open line of communication regarding the appropriate use of the Internet. Feel free to customize for your own needs.”
Internet Use Contract
From: “Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying”
I understand that using the family computer is a privilege that is subject to the following rules:
1. I will respect the privacy of others who use this computer. I will not open, move, or delete files that are not in my personal directory.
2. I understand that mom and dad may access and look at my files at any time.
3. I will not download anything or install programs without first asking mom or dad.
4. I will never give out private information while online. At no time will I ever give out my last name, phone number, address, or school name—even if I know the person with whom I am communicating.
My screen name will be:
5. I understand that I can use the computer for approved purposes only.
6. I will never write or post anything online that I would not want mom or dad to see. I will not use profanity or otherwise offensive language. If I receive messages or view content with offensive language, I will report it to mom and dad immediately.
7. I will never agree to meet an online friend in person without first asking mom or dad. Dangerous people may try to trick me into meeting up with them.
8. If I ever feel uncomfortable about an experience online, I will immediately tell mom or dad. I understand that mom and dad are willing to help me and will not punish me as long as these rules are followed.
I understand that it is my responsibility to protect my family and to help them receive the best of what the Internet has to offer. In that spirit, I agree to the following:
1. I will listen calmly. If my child comes to me with a problem related to online experiences, I promise not to get angry but to do my best to help my child resolve the situation.
2. I will be reasonable. I will set reasonable rules and expectations for Internet usage. I will establish reasonable consequences for lapses in judgment on the part of my child.
3. I will treat my child with dignity. I will respect the friendships that my child may make online as I would offline friends.
4. I will not unnecessarily invade my child’s privacy. I promise not to go further than necessary to ensure my child’s safety. I will not read diaries or journals, nor will I inspect e-mails or computer files unless there is a serious concern.
5. I will not take drastic measures. No matter what happens, I understand that the Internet is an important tool that is essential to my child’s success in school or business, and I promise not to ban it entirely.
6. I will be involved. I will spend time with my child and be a positive part of my child’s online activities and relationships—just as I am offline.
List of Prohibited Web sites and software applications:
As recommended in the beginning, you can tailor this Agreement to your particular needs. Talk this over with your parents before signing and make sure all of you understand its terms.
Update: Researchers have found that a higher social status at school may have downside effect. A report in the April, 2014 issue of American Sociological Review concludes that students who climbed in popularity had an increased risk of being bullied. “It’s kind of a hidden pattern of victimization that is rooted in the competition for social status'” commented Profesor Robert Faris, lead author of the study from the University of California, Davis.