As a child, adolescent and family therapist the issue of child safety and privacy is often a topic in my discussions with families. Everyone needs to have privacy, but it is a fine line between safety and
the guidance that will make a child and a parent feel comfortable.
I encourage families to use the Webster Dictionary definition of
privacy “the quality or state of being apart from company and
observation.” Privacy in this way means ‘down time’ and ‘alone
time.’ With eight and nine-year-olds, it also means in a safe
environment such as their bedroom or alone in the family room.
Privacy does not mean having a playmate over and ‘Mom can’t come into the room.’ Play with peers is not an area that needs privacy at
this age; adult supervision can still be necessary.
Privacy does not mean being online.
Being connected should always be
in an area where the adult can observe, interact and supervise with
children the ages of eight and nine. I encourage all computers to be in a
public area of the house. Also, a bedroom computer can interfere with
Children do need the time to ‘not be accountable’ for the time or just
the space to sit, think and do nothing. Sometimes play is not really to play; it is just a calming activity that a child enjoys. Parents asking “What did you make?”, “What legos did you build?” and “What books did you read?” can cause the child to be under-stress even in their downtime.
Kids need to play. Kids need to have free time. Kids need to have downtime.