With children back in school, technology is going to be part of their everyday lives. They will be using the internet for things such as research and projects. Some schools have even moved to using computers and tablets instead of textbooks. Kids today are very tech-savvy; often even more so than some adults. Keeping them safe in this digital age is challenging. As parents, we want to provide everything they need for their education, while at the same time making sure they are using technology safely. Here are some tips to help:
SET RULES - Limit not only the amount of screen time they can have, but where they have it. If they are using a computer for homework, have them do it in a room where you can check in with them periodically. You don’t have to hover, but if they know you are present, they are more likely to stay on task. If they have a smart phone, let them know that they cannot have it out while doing homework. Make your rules clear and concise so they will know what your expectations are. Define what the consequences will be if the rules are broken and follow through if that happens. The Importance of Limiting Screen Time
SET PARENTAL CONTROLS - Sometimes Parental Controls on a computer can be a pain because they will block sites that your child might need to access. But by having the controls, that means your child will need you to help them get to the site…which keeps you in the loop.
EXPLAIN INTERNET SAFETY - You don’t want to scare your children, but it is important they understand what internet safety is and why they need to be careful. An Internet Safety Talk should include information about protecting privacy, avoiding communication with strangers and cyber-bullying.
There are several kid-friendly websites that you can introduce to your children that will allow them to have fun online while safely gaining experience with technology. Fun and Free Educational Websites for Kids
As children get older and enter the teen years, it can be more challenging than ever to control what they see on the internet. That’s why it’s vital that you keep the lines of communication open and keep up with what they are doing online. Stay in the know about current popular social media apps and technological advances. The more informed you are, the more you can help your children stay safe online.
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