Today’s children and teens are growing up in a much different time than their parents did. They live in a world consumed by digital media and are developing an online presence earlier than ever before. And while the internet can open up a world of knowledge and learning, it also comes with a lot of risk. Not only are kids subject to things like cyberbullying and inappropriate content, they also risk accidentally sharing data and personal information with the wrong people.
Luckily, there are things your whole family can do to make sure you all stay safe and develop healthy online habits. Here are a few quick tips.
According to a recent study, 71% of parents said they were at least somewhat concerned that their child was spending too much time online. Kids and teens age 8 to 18 spend an average of more than seven hours a day looking at screens, when the AHA recommends no more than two hours per day.
While it can definitely be more challenging to set screen time limits during this time because of things like distance learning, you can still set some guidelines to help. Set a cutoff time when everyone in the family shuts off computers and/or phones for the evening. Maybe even try taking a full day “unplugged” from devices on a weekend.
Set Parental Restrictions
One of the biggest concerns for all parents is what your child is viewing online. Set up parental controls on their computers or phones so that you can be sure they are only visiting sites you permit. Have open conversations frequently about their online habits so you know what sites they’re visiting and whether there is concern.
Use Safer Alternative and Don’t Share Information.
If your child is using their devices to talk to their friends, there is potential for them to also be talking to people you may not know. Make sure you talk with your kids about only communicating with people they know in person and never share any personal information.
ShazzleChat is an entirely new communications architecture that allows you deliver your messages from your phone, to your receiver’s phone, without ever touching the Web. You create your own absolutely private, encrypted channel. Nothing is ever copied or stored on a server. Use ShazzleChat to set up family group chats or chats between your child and their friends, knowing they will never be at risk of having their data stolen or shared with third party apps.
Keep an Open Line of Communication
No matter what you use, keeping an open line of communication is key to keeping your whole family safe online. Have open discussions about what websites everyone is using and who they’re talking to. If your kids are in the habit of talking about their online habits, they’ll be more likely to come to you when there’s a problem.