Like any mother, I worry about my children. I worry about what they eat, how much they exercise, time spent with friends and school. As the mother of five including one teenager and two pre-teens, I am also concerned about my children’s online activities. Read the paper and you are always hearing about terrible situations that occur because children’s online activities are not being properly monitored. I feel that as a parent it is my job to make sure that my children are safe both offline and online, so my husband and I have some rules in our house that must be followed regarding kids and technology to keep them safe online.
Kids and Technology–Tips for Keeping them Safe
First rule? Nothing on your phone is private. That’s right. We pay for the phones that means we get to see what you are doing. I often pick up my kids phones and check their browsing history, check out what apps they have downloaded and even check their texts from friends.
Second rule? We decide what goes on your phone. We have parental controls in place on their phones that are password protected so that they need to ask us before they download apps and we have certain apps blocked completely because we have found that it is too easy to go down the rabbit trail and stumble on content that isn’t appropriate.
Third rule? Electronics are only allowed at certain times of the day. For instance, we don’t allow them during school hours unless they are being used for research. Once your schoolwork is done for the day then they are allowed to use their electronics. Time for bed? Then the electronics are turned off for the night.
Finally? Having a phone is a sign of maturity, so you have to act like you deserve one. We don’t like how you are acting? Then away go your electronic privileges.
We understand though that it is our job as parents to teach our kids the proper rules for electronic usage and that these rules need to be reenforced often. That’s why I love that the National PTA and LifeLock teamed up and created The Smart Talk—a free, online tool—to help families set ground rules for technology use and have open, ongoing conversations about online safety and responsibility.
In the fast-moving digital world, a child’s identity and well-being can be compromised by their online behavior. Today’s kids need to learn the rules of the road for navigating life online. Many parents find the idea of having the technology talk overwhelming because they don’t know what topics to even begin to cover.
The Smart Talk engages kids and parents in an interactive experience, leading them through a guided conversation about online safety and privacy; screen time; apps and downloads; texting and calling; and social media and respect. The tool creates a printable contract to hold the parent and child accountable.
Worried about your kids and technology? Print out your own LifeLock and National PTA Smart Talk agreement today and keep your kids safe online.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.