Technology plays a large part in our daily lives, especially since the the COVID-19 pandemic forced many people indoors. A lot of schools started offering remote or hybrid classes to keep students and faculty safe. At home, children turn to YouTube and video games to entertain themselves, and stay in touch with friends. This means children are spending more time on computers than ever before. More access to the Internet means more temptations and safety concerns for your young children. It’s incredibly important to educate kids about internet safety and how to use their devices, before they’re left to browse themselves. Then parents should continue to monitor their internet usage and screen time. Many forward-thinking parents are stepping up to teach their children to use technology in a healthy way, so that they can use these skills and habits to become successful digital users at an early age.
Be a Role Model
First and foremost, be a role model for your kids to demonstrate the expectations you have for them. Technology’s irresistible pull draws in parents as much as it does kids, creating a major need for parents to serve as a guide in making smart digital choices. Children are likely to not only copy our behavior, but also to feel like they have to compete with devices for your attention. Serving as an example of what healthy habits should look like will help guide your children in the right direction. Limiting the time you spend on your devices during family time and only showing your child age-appropriate content will help them understand and set boundaries online.
As with most situations, a balanced approach to these new challenges works best. While there’s a time for screens, it shouldn’t be at the expense of time for physical activity and connecting with people in real-time. You should also evaluate the quality of your child’s digital interactions. Ask yourself:
- Are they accessing age-appropriate content?
- Are the apps they use interactive and thought-provoking rather than passive?
- Are the privacy settings for older children’s social media and other online accounts set to restrict what strangers can see and who can contact your children?
Turn off buying Options
Whether it’s accidental or intentional, your kids can rack up huge bills when you’re signed into various online accounts. A quick fix to avoid running into this headache yourself is to turn off in-app purchases. While it can be a minor inconvenience when you intentionally try to buy something, it doesn’t equate to the stress and inconvenience of seeing accidental purchases on your credit card. Plus, it only takes a few seconds to turn it on and off, and can even prevent you from making some questionable purchases on a whim.
Strong passwords do more than just protect your personal information – they protect gadgets from unauthorized purchases. Setting passwords to grant access to your phone or accounts lets you know exactly what your children are doing, and keeps you in control of what they can and can’t download.
Sign Out of Shopping Accounts
Kids can easily get online and begin clicking or tapping without realizing that they’re purchasing real items. It doesn’t matter if you buy books online or you shop for clothes, electronics, or games, it’s important to always sign out of shopping accounts like Amazon and eBay. For extra safety, you should also turn off one-click purchasing options on Amazon. Signing out also protects you. If someone were to steal your device, they could have easy access to all your accounts if you leave yourself signed in. Sign out and remove any options to enter the password automatically.
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