Technology creates challenges for parenting. Kids have access to global information with the swipe of a finger, including explicit content, graphic imagery and nearly undetectable connections with potential predators. Thankfully, monitoring apps and software can help parents safeguard their children online.
“Social media can be a scary place for kids, especially when they find content they aren’t mentally or emotionally prepared for,” said Sarah Howe, Learning Management System Administrator for Canopy Children’s Solutions. “Knowing what apps kids are using and what content is available through various apps is extremely important, but talking to them about what they see online is even more crucial.”
Some suggestions Howe gives are:
- Limiting screen time, particularly for elementary-aged children and younger, to technology that promotes healthy connection and collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity
- Playing an active role in children’s technology presence
- Setting an early standard that you will have full access to your child’s phone/tablet
- Charging devices in a central location in the home at night. This gives you an opportunity to check search histories, which can uncover things your child could be experiencing but is afraid to talk about
- Watching for secretive behavior with your child’s devices as well as a decrease in ‘real life’ connections, which can be an early indicator of depression
- Modeling good tech use for their kids and give everyone some tech down time to let everyone reconnect, talk or get outside together
While technology has made our lives easier in many ways, we should never allow it to substitute true connections, particularly with our children. Ask your child to sit with you, talk about their day. It’s important that we remind our children they aren’t just another profile; let them feel seen and heard.
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