We all know the dangers that lurk online and it is important to consider how to make screen time safe for children who may be impulsive, desperate to connect, lonely, or otherwise at risk. It is never too late to have a conversation about screen time safety, but it is always better to approach the topic before a problem arises. Here are some important tips to keep your children safe online:
Tablet and Computer Safety
Bookmark favorite or appropriate sites for your children.
Create family rules around internet use and screen time safety. Such as:
- Having devices kept in a common family area for young children to be supervised
- Asking permission before accessing the Internet.
- Not interacting with strangers online.
Enable ad-blockers and Internet filtering tools to block content, pages, and prevent pop-ups.
Have a conversation with your child about privacy and sharing of information. Even if your children are not on social media – many of the games and apps for children have chat features.
Familiarize yourself with parental control features on ALL your devices: video game systems, tablets, smartphones, and computers.
Discuss social media safety and etiquette:
- only adding people you know,
- treating others with kindness,
- and safe social networking.
Smart Phone Safety Tips
When children have regular access to a smartphone they may feel more in control when it comes to technology. It is important to continue to provide guidance for safety!
Make the bedroom a tech-free zone at night – they need adequate sleep to function!
Consider privacy settings and managing who sees what they post.
Talk about healthy relationships and recognizing signs when someone may be seeking to exploit them.
Educate teens about the risk of hostile, bullying behavior and not using social media to spread gossip.
For more screen time advice check out 7 Ways to Set Screen Time Boundaries!