Technology and Social Media come with greater responsibility for parents in terms of monitoring their children’s use and time. Before you hand over the new iPad or cell phone, have a family discussion around how technology and social media will be used.
Here are 5 key tips for keeping your children safe and technology use in check.
- Teach them about online manners and responsibility. No bullying or sharing of personal information. Let your children know you have expectations for behavior and you won’t tolerate rules being broken. Also, let your children know you are going to be following them on social media.
- Determine the amount of time and the places, technology can be used. Each family should come up with their own set of family technology rules. Bedtime and mealtime should be off limits. Online restrictions should be set up so that dangerous or inappropriate websites will be unavailable.
- Educate yourself about your child’s tech use. Research the video games, websites and various apps. your child wants to use, before you give your approval, or before you find out your child is playing a video game that is too violent.
- Make unplugged time a priority. Children need downtime and a chance to explore other interests. We already know that too much screen time can have serious negative effects on children. Setting limits is essential for their health and development.
- Model the behavior you want to see. Our children are watching us and often will model the behavior they see from us. If we’re looking at our phones while talking to them or bringing technology to the dinner table, we’re sending a mixed message. Be the example your child needs, let them know you value face to face interactions.
Children need to understand that technology is a privilege, one that should be earned and taken away, if misused. Remember as parents, our job is not to keep the peace but to keep them safe. Inevitably, there are going to be issues and as with all parenting strategies, there has to be consequences to broken rules. The important thing is to be consistent and to be aware of what your child is doing online.
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