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[Parent Tips] How to Teach Your Child About Responsible Technology Use

[Parent Tips] How to Teach Your Child About Responsible Technology Use

As technology becomes a more integral part of your child’s education and daily life, it’s important to help your child understand the potential benefits and drawbacks that it can have. As children get older, they are faced with many challenges when it comes to technology, such as threats from cyberbullying, exposure to inappropriate content, excessive amounts of screen time, and general concerns of online safety.

It’s critical to educate children on the technology they use to make sure that they have a safe, age-appropriate, and productive experience. Here are four simple strategies to teach your child about responsible technology use:

  1. Model and teach digital citizenship best practices

Digital citizenship looks different for each life stage of your child. Consider age-appropriate advice and reminders depending on your child’s stage of development. Always remind your child of the importance of strong passwords (and to never share them), the danger of online strangers, the ways to use and discern from trustworthy information sources, and to the practice of always being respectful to others on social networks. Consider a few of these digital citizenship resources from CyberWise to get started.

  1. Monitor online media consumption

Depending on the age of your child, a typical day of surfing the Web can include playing online games, using YouTube or other social media, or streaming of TV shows or movies. Take the time to monitor and understand what your child consumes on a daily basis, and determine if it is age-appropriate or not. If your child is older, consider adding him or her as a friend or following his or her social media profile(s). Remind your child that connecting on social media is not a way to spy on him or her, but rather, it is a method to interact and understand how he or she uses social media.

  1. Educate your children on Internet safety and online privacy

Communicate with your child on what information is and isn’t appropriate to share online. Elaborate and share that your child should also watch what he or she says online in posts, comments, or shares. The second that the “publish post” button is hit, your child no longer has control over what happens to that post. Remind him or her that people can screenshot posts and share them and that just deleting a post doesn’t make it go away forever. For an older child, show him or her that social media posts can harm mental health or even hurt when searching for a future job.

  1. Open the lines of communication

Chances are that your child may make some mistakes and learn the hard way when it comes to technology and Internet use. Let your child know that he or she can always come to you if feeling unsafe, scared, or worried about a social media post, YouTube video , or messages received from a stranger. Use these experiences as learning opportunities for your child to help him or her learn and grow if he or she makes mistakes. Mistakes are a part of the learning process!