This article’s main goal is to inform parents and other adults who work with and mentor kids about the actual risks and harms that today’s social media platforms and digital technologies pose to our kids. It also provides parents with information and resources to enable them to best protect their kids. This article gives advice on how to set limits on technology use as well as how to talk to kids about creating positive digital habits. With the knowledge and resources provided by this article, parents will be better equipped to navigate the difficulties of parenting in the modern digital era and provide for their children’s safety.
Fully comprehend the risks of the Digital Era
The proliferation of smartphones and the applications that go along with them, especially social media platforms, are major contributors to the hazards that kids face today. There are two problems.
First off, these platforms and applications frequently permit the spread of hazardous information to children while taking very little action to do so.
Second, the platforms themselves are made to be highly addictive, which has a detrimental impact on young people’s mental health and development when improper material shows up in their newsfeeds or in the form of paid or unpaid advertisements.
Let us be clear that kids of today do not need to hunt for risky or improper stuff, social media makes it available to them.
Parents need to be warned that setting up an account on specific applications may instantly flood their children’s phones with hazardous information (and contacts from bad actors). Social networking sites are frequently used by criminals to hurt children. They are applied by peers and classmates as a form of cyberbullying.
Do Open Communication with children
Parents need to foster open communication with their children regarding technology, parents should make an effort. It’s important to have discussions regarding children’s technology use as well as the kinds of information they may access. This frequently entails speaking to them earlier than we would want, but it is crucial to do so since if they aren’t learning from you, they will turn to their classmates or Google for help. If they ever notice something unclear or that simply doesn’t seem right, urge them to contact you (even if they feel ashamed to do so).
A few ideas for potential border considerations are provided below
- Family computers or tablets used in a public area where people can see it is the only place where kids and teenagers can browse the internet. If kids have a laptop or tablet provided by the school, do not trust the filters on those devices, and restrict their use to public spaces where you can see what they are looking at.
- Computers, tablets, or phones with displays are not allowed in children’s bedrooms. In particular, not at night.
- No electronics on the table. Eat together at the table without any cell phones around. To make time for evening in-person family connections, have a phone basket where everyone, including parents, stores their phones when they get home from work and school.
- Parents need to make sure that all of their gadgets are protected with passwords that the kids don’t know. Adding password security to the home computer so that parents must sign their children in before they may use the internet.
- Use parental controls to limit children’s access to the internet and computer to times when a parent is present and available to monitor what they are doing.
- Inquire with your internet service provider (ISP) about any accessible filtering software (see options below).
- Establish daily screen time restrictions for each child and each device.
- Prepare your kids for using technology away from home, at a friend’s house, or at school. You may establish a family rule prohibiting smartphone use, for instance, if you don’t let your kids use them. Therefore, if a friend offers to show your child something on a screen, you may simply decline and explain that your family doesn’t use smartphones.
- Think about having a tech-free Saturday or Sunday when everyone refrains from using any electronic devices in order to make time and space for family time and shared activities. This can serve as a mental reset and help everyone unwind by removing them from the continual stimulus of technology. Additionally, it teaches your kids that technology has its place and time and doesn’t have to be on all the time or utilized continually.
Parenting in the era of digital technology is challenging but certainly controllable and totally depends on how deep attention to care is given to children.