Every situation is different, for some families it will be very easy to discuss and agree to shared rules and for others it may be more challenging.
- If possible try to reach an agreement on the factors which are most important first, (listed below) without getting bogged down in the detail.
- Include your children in the parent discussion about the agreement. If this is not possible, ensure your children understand there has been an agreement reached between their parents and that the consequences are the same for both households.
- Print joint copies of the agreement for each household to put on display.
- When and where possible inform the other party if the agreement is broken and what consequences were imposed. Email or text messaging may be a useful non-confrontational way to inform the other parent. Ensure your child knows the other parent will be made aware of any breach.
The most important factors to consider are:
- Keep computers in a place where the family spends most of their time and not in bedrooms.
- The amount of time spent online (delineate between homework and other i.e. games, social networking etc).
- Which websites can and cannot be accessed and information which is allowed to be downloaded or uploaded.
- Not sharing personal information including passwords, addresses, phone numbers, school details and pictures.
- When and how mobile phones can be used - including hours of use, if they are allowed in bedrooms overnight, what content is appropriate to post and send, and who pays the bill.