by Marguerite Ferrara, Byrnes HEC Assistant Director of Education Services/Corporate Wellness
Are you planning on giving your child an electronic device this holiday? A phone, computer, e-reader even a gaming system will give your child access to the digital world and social media. This is the virtual world your kids live in. Brush up, understand the technology you are buying or they will be making the rules. It’s our job to help our kids understand the importance of building healthy social media habits from the very beginning and learning to value their privacy online.
Here are some thoughts on protecting our kids from www.cyberwise.org:
- Establish very clear rules.
- The phone/device is yours and your child is earning the privilege of using it.
- Explain the importance of a profile. ( How do you want to present yourself to others)
- Set up a private social media account. ( They recommend Friendly or GoEnnounce)
- Make sure the location is turned off when taking photos.
- When posting, never include location, information about being home alone, address, neighborhood, school, email or phone.
Constructive posts might include hobbies, aspirations, recognizing their achievements and those of their friends.
The average 8-18 year old spends 8 hours a day behind a screen. Establish “tech time”. When friends come over for the evening have them check their devices and focus on personal interaction. Remember, sleep is critical. By storing the phones with you in the evening, you allow your child to sleep without interruption.
Be a digital role model. According to researchers from Pew Internet, 58% of teens polled said their parents are the biggest influence on what they think is appropriate or inappropriate when using a phone or the internet.