As you may already know, the internet is a vast source of information, both good and bad. If we learn to use it wisely, we can be safe while using the Internet for all the resources it has to offer. However, parents need to be vigilant about the many dangers this access poses for their children. It’s pretty obvious that children today are often much more technology savvy about these new communication techniques than their parents, their knowledge and habits can be quite intimidating to most parents. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to know when and how to step in. However, in order to keep our children safe with technology, we still need to protect them, set limits, and Impose rules and consequences.
Here are a few suggestions that can guide you to help your child be safe and smart with technology:
• Parents should become computer literate. Ask for help or take a class.
• Keep the computer in a common area. Know what your child is doing on the computer. Choose programs and websites designed for children. Make sure that your child is viewing things that are age-appropriated.
• Take advantage of blocking systems. Consider installing parental control filtering software and/or tracking programs.
• Limit the amount of screen time that your child is allowed. Encourage children to use the Internet for educational purposes.
• Set a good example. Limit your own screen time. For example, set a time limit for checking email and visit social media accounts.
• Practice open communication with your children. Talk to your children about posting pictures or personal information online. Talk to your children about the dangers of interacting with strangers online and remind them that people online often don’t tell the truth.
Although children often may know more about the technology, they do not always have the judgment to make wise decisions when it comes to the proper use of the Internet and all the new communication devices now at their disposal.