\Technology has come to play such an important role in everyday life that today’s children accept it as commonplace. Their parents, on the other hand, are faced with a number of challenges to go along with the convenience—namely, the issue of how to teach your child about the pros and cons of social media, as well as other aspects of the internet. Here are a few tips that will help you raise a confident, web-savvy individual.
Teach Them About Appropriate Material
It’s imperative to teach children that the internet is home to a vast network of material and images, some of which may not be appropriate for their eyes. Have a list available of all the sites that they’re allowed to visit, and teach them how to recognize a link when they see one so they won’t inadvertently find themselves on a different site. Make it clear that if they come across anything that frightens or upsets them, they can come and tell you about it without fear of punishment.
According to this article, “monitor their use by keeping the family computer in a public area. If your older children have tablets or smartphones, consider disabling the wi-fi outside of the designated homework hours.”
Show Them the Proper Way to Use Social Media
Social media sites such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook provide a way for children to interact with friends and relatives through their computers and mobile devices. Unfortunately, it also leaves the door open to online predators and cyberbullying. According to this article, “lecture them on the dangers of sharing personal information with anyone they don’t know personally (or ‘IRL,’ as they might say).”
According to this article, “aside from increasing kids’ vulnerability to predators and cyber bullies, social media can increase kids’ exposure to often filtered, carefully curated photos and messages that create the illusion of a “perfect” life, ultimately negatively affecting their self-esteem.” Before allowing them to open their own accounts, teach your child about the pros and cons of social media. Make sure they understand that what they see online isn’t the whole picture and that no one’s life is perfect.
Help Them Learn to Limit Screen Time
While the internet can be a useful tool, it’s important for both children and adults to learn to budget the time they spend in front of a screen. According to this article, “set limits for recreational computer and smartphone use—say, no more than two hours a day and never later than 8 p.m.” Having these restrictions in place will also encourage your children to use their allotment wisely.
By practicing healthy online habits yourself, you’re already in the ideal position to pass some of that wisdom on to your child. The bottom line? Be ready to answer any questions they might have, and listen to their concerns without judgment.
If you’re wanting to improve your ability to communicate with your kids, and help your kids grow more confident, then sign up for a consulting session!