Let’s face it: Kids are using technology at earlier ages than ever before. It can be difficult to distinguish what to shelter your children from as they are learning, growing, and becoming increasingly independent with age. When your children begin using technology, whether it is during school or at your discretion, it is important to have conversations about what is to be expected for Internet use. Though these talks may not resolve every tech-related issue parents face when it comes to their children, it is a great starting point for keeping children safer and more aware of what happens in the digital world.
Limit Tech Time
Set parameters for smartphone and other device use. The Internet can be beneficial for children and teens as far as interactions and obtaining information go, but it can also cause damage if you’re not careful. Not only can it be a platform for school-aged students to bully each other, but it is also a faceless environment where child predators and cybercriminals can lurk. It is always important to remind children what information they should and should not be sharing, but considering a service that helps protect your identity can give you extra peace of mind for keeping your kids safe. Set limitations that you are comfortable with and set the expectations with your children prior to putting them in place, so they are able to openly communicate and ask questions.
Disable Location Sharing
Location sharing is a hidden danger that can affect children, teens, and even adults. Popular apps such as Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter allow for you to share your location with your friends via status updates, or even minute-by-minute. Though it may seem fun to see where friends are in relation to your current location, it can make for an easy target for stalkers and predators. These settings aren’t always easy to find and disable, so always double check the privacy settings on all devices and avoid hitting the initial “allow” option when a new app asks if they can access your or your child’s location.
Be Their Friend
Not only should you be a confidant for your children in real life, but you should also be their friend on social media. This doesn’t mean you have to snoop on them night and day, but a lingering authority may encourage them to use proper online etiquette, as well as tip you off to potential cyberstalking or bullying issues. Considering a weekly check-in with new tech-using kids to discuss positive behaviors, and maybe even rewarding some, can help reinforce those behaviors even when you’re not watching.