That smartphone or laptop or tablet in your child’s hands is a mixed blessing. It can open an electronic door to worlds both wonderful and wildly inappropriate. Given that it’s inevitable that your child will someday use technology at school and home- if they aren’t already – how, as parent, do you keep your kids safe?
1. Make time to plan. Don’t let your kids take a grab-and-go approach to a new device. Take time to learn how to make it safe before handing it over, and take the time to talk to your kids about the rules for how and when they use it.
2. Create a contract. Establish ground rules and go over them together. You can even go as far as to have a sample contract for smart phones, for example. You will want to think about when they can use devices, what type of things they can do on the devices and who they can interact with on the devices. There are many resources to educate yourself on good ground rules here. Then keep the conversation going over time, because an endless amount of new questions will arise, from whether they can download certain apps to what to do when a friend wrote something mean in a group message.
3. Use parental controls. Everything from your TV to smart phones to game consoles has parental controls. Activate safe settings in your computer operating system, search engine, and devices. Here are some tips on how to do that. You may also want to take away devices during the overnight hours.
4. Follow and friend your kids. Follow them on their social media sites but avoid stalking them. Encourage your kids to have a good digital reputation. The guideline I give my own kids is, if you wouldn’t want me to see something, then it’s probably something you should not post.
5. Use offline sense online. Just as your kids probably know not to talk to strangers in the street, they should not friend or communicate with people online who aren’t known, trusted friends in the real world.
6. Have fun too. Spend time, especially with younger children, using technology together in constructive ways and celebrate the fun things you can do together as family. You’re a role model for how to use technology in a constructive way.
This article was written by Katya Andreson and sourced on Linkedin