Parenting has always been a challenging task, but with the rise of technology in recent years, it has become even more challenging. We live in an age where children are growing up surrounded by screens and digital devices, and as parents, it is our responsibility to ensure their safety and security online. In this article, we will discuss some tips on how to keep your kids safe in the digital age.
• Have an open and honest discussion about technology and internet safety with your children.
It’s crucial to make sure they understand the risks associated with sharing personal information online, the importance of keeping their passwords safe, and how to identify and avoid potential online predators. Encourage your children to talk to you if they ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe online, or if they have any other concerns or questions about how to navigate the internet safely.
• Get familiar with popular social media platforms and ways that kids and teens are connecting.
You don’t know what you don’t know. Stay on top of social media platforms and trends so that you can get a better understanding of where your child may be spending their time online. All social media platforms are different, so what is true for one may not be true for another. Commonly used platforms are TikTok (especially popular for younger teens and kids), Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, and Twitter.
• Set clear boundaries for internet and digital device use.
Establish a family media plan that includes guidelines on when, where, and how digital devices can be used. For example, you might consider banning digital devices from the dinner table or from bedrooms at night. You can also use parental control apps to limit the amount of time your child spends on digital devices or even block inappropriate content. As with many things in rule-making and parenting, be sure that these boundaries are age-appropriate, easily understood, and most importantly, consistent.
• Monitor your child's online activity regularly.
You may worry about infringing on your child’s right to privacy, but it’s important to still keep an eye out for what your kids may be doing online. By keeping an eye on their social media accounts and internet usage history, you can help ensure they are not engaging in risky behavior or being exposed to harmful content that may affect or hinder their development or give them the wrong idea or perceptions of things. Remember that social media platforms have age restrictions for a reason, so make sure your child is old enough to use them, and use them responsibly.
• Be a good digital role model for your children.
Show them how to use digital devices safely. Avoid becoming distracted by your own devices when you are with your kids, and limit your own screen time in front of them. Showing up and being present for your children can go a long way in helping them learn how to use technology and the internet safely and productively! Hold yourself accountable as well. Kids pay attention to the things you do as a parent, so by practicing being a good role model for them, they will more likely be able to use technology responsibly; which is a win-win for both you and your kids!
Parenting in the digital age can be challenging, but with the right strategies, tips, and tools, you can keep your children safe online. By doing so, we can help our children navigate the digital world with confidence and safety. To learn more about how to parent in this digital age, click here.