Check in on a regular basis with your kids and their use of technology.
Consider these starters:
#1“What technology/tools/apps do you know how to use?” The amount of technology – and access it provides to your kids – is astounding. And it changes every day. Do a regular check-in of your kids’ phones and gaming devices. Have them “show off ” what they can do.
#2“Let’s check in on our security settings and passwords.” Model safe behavior and reinforce the importance of privacy. Agree as a family to share all passwords in one place (excluding, of course, financial or other parent-only sites and tools.)
#3“Have you seen anything online that’s made you uncomfortable or hurt your feelings?” This is an opportunity to listen (not to judge or yell). Cyber bullying is more common than you might think, and your kids should feel safe talking to you about it.
#4“I’m uncomfortable with ______________ because _______________.” Rather than ban their use of Facebook, for example (which might result in secrecy or lying) explain why a certain photo or post is upsetting (use of foul language, inappropriate image, sharing of a location, etc.). Kids should know they will be held accountable for behavior online just as they are at school and home.
#5“I need a break from my phone/web/email. Let’s go___________.” Take a walk together, eat a meal, get outside and spend quality time together as a family.
Family Tech Checklist:
Post these reminders in your home near every computer, game system, phone charger, etc. so that you AND your children will see them every time you go online!
- Have you guarded your privacy? Have you kept your physical address (or “check- in” locations), social security number and financial information (credit cards, bank accounts) private?
- Are you showing respect online?
- To yourself (consider photos) as well as others (use of foul lanuage, disrespectful comments)?
- Has someone tried to contact you, plan a meeting or asked personal questions?
- Did you post something online you would not want a parent/friend/teacher/ employer to see? Even if deleted, many things are still archived and available on the web (or could be saved by someone)!
- Are you feeling bullied or harrassed online? Or are YOU bullying someone online? Talk to a parent for help.
- Have you taken a break from technology today? Gone outside for some fresh air? Talked to a family member or friend in person?
WORK TOGETHER AS A FAMILY TO USE TECHNOLOGY WITH SAFETY, PRIVACY AND RESPECT IN MIND TALK ABOUT IT TOGETHER.