The internet is a great resource for users young and old. Content has never been more accessible and this is both good and bad for parents. As a parent myself, I would like to talk to you today about raising the digital generation. Let me share with you some statistics that you may find surprising.
- 95% of 12-15-year-olds own at least one smartphone, tablet or other media device. This same demographic has an average of 78 Facebook friends they have not met in real life. Protect your children by talking to them about online safety. Encourage an open dialogue and tell them that it is unsafe to friend strangers online. There is simply no way of keeping kids off the web, so show them how to safely use their online profiles, navigate privacy settings and connect only with people they know offline.
- Studies show that children and teenagers who have TV sets and access to mobile devices after bedtime are more tired than their peers without electronic devices. Limit screen time to avoid online overexposure. Lead by example, if your child always sees you checking your phone chances are they will follow the leader. Set a time every night when you disconnect and spend time together.
- 49% of parents think their child knows more about the internet than they do and 18% of 12-15-year-olds know how to unset internet filters and controls. Explain to your children what is appropriate and what is not appropriate to do online. Warn them of the permanency of the content they share.
Some suggestions for limiting and monitoring your kids’ cybersecurity are:
- Your kids need you to be the parent.
- As a family, set expectations regarding use of electronics and acceptable Internet activities. Impose consequences for breaking these rules.
- Recognize that kids’ brains are different from ours.
- Use developmentally appropriate strategies and establish parameters that structure and support healthy behaviors.
- Finally, lead by example. Consider how often your child sees you using technology.