Tips for Parents on How to Raise Digitally Responsible Kids
All kids are familiar with some sort of technology whether it is a desktop computer, a smart TV or a smartphone or tablet. The technology trend is not about to change any time soon. This makes it important for parents to prepare their kids to become digitally responsible citizens. Not paying attention to the way our children use the Internet and the many devices that connect to it, parents are missing out on a lot of intricate details that affect how their children see the world.
Here are a couple of tips to help parents raise digitally responsible children.
1. Create tech free time.
Setting some time when your kids are not allowed to access the Internet is very important. Only by adhering to rules set in place can one begin to appreciate life in front of them without being distracted by a beeping phone, a blaring television or a chat box. A good example is to refrain from Internet use during dinner, family gatherings and while doing homework. Kids should not be using the Internet while studying unless the work requires online research which can be done under the supervision of parents. However, it is entirely upon you as a parent to determine which time is best for you and your family to refrain from Internet use or whether you will pay the bill to keep the family online. Freeing ties to the online world is actually a good way to bond on a personal level with others and also relaxes the mind.
2. Learn how to safely interact online.
Parents know that they cannot entirely prevent their kids from using the Internet. However, parents can do much in terms of educating their child on how to safely interact with others online. Even though the Internet encourages freedom of expression, you should inform your kids that the Internet is not a place to humiliate or harass others.
It is also important to show them how they can spot phishing sites and not stray to unfamiliar websites. Show your kids how to hover the mouse over a pop up window or advert in order to identify the site it links to. If the site is unfamiliar, then they should not proceed to it. A good way of identifying untrustworthy websites is by checking their contacts and social media profiles. If a particular website has few likes and little online activity on the social media platform, then that is a cause for alarm.
Some of these websites use physical addresses that do not exist and even have fake email addresses. When it comes to email messages, your kids should learn not to open emails from unfamiliar sources. These things will contribute towards making your child a responsible digital citizen.
3. Educate them about piracy.
Most kids generally assume that the Internet is a place with no rules. They tend to think that they can do anything they want. Parents should know where boundaries are and let their children know where the boundaries are at. One of the things that many children do without realizing it is downloading copyrighted music and videos. Whether it is music, games or movies, anything that is for sale in stores is not going to be authorized for free online. It is best if your kids stay away from these sites so that they do not get into trouble, and it also helps developers and artists continue to provide the very things that the children enjoy. Watching videos on YouTube or Netflix are fine, and the same goes for music and books on iTunes. But downloading movies that are still in theaters or ripping someone’s music from an album copy are not what good fans are made of.
4. Place emphasis on developing their social skills and values.
Online activities have a huge effect on children’s social skills and values. Parents should put emphasis on developing these values in their children. The first thing is about responsibility. Make your kids understand that they are responsible for all their actions, both online and offline. This means that things that are said online should be things that we would be comfortable with saying to someone in person as well.
They also need to learn the virtue of patience. Since the Internet carries out things at a fast pace, kids may become impatient when it comes to other normal activities. This is because real life scenarios do not always happen fast and they are not perfect. Children should learn how to separate Internet occurrences and real life in order to have a good social life.
The other skill most parents need to emphasize is people skills. It is important for kids to know how to interact face to face with other people. This means that the kids should take some time out to interact with their friends and take part in some non-video games or social activities. Fostering your child’s social skills and values will go a long way in making them responsible digital citizens and well-rounded adults.
5. Use the apps your kids use.
Last but not least, parents should make an effort of using the same apps their kids use. Whether it is Instagram, Facebook, Ask.fm, WhatsApp or the rest, it is important for parents to know what their kids experience while using these apps. By doing this, the parent is in a better position for talking to their child about these apps. If you do not know how to use it, feel free to ask your child for help. This will open up more room for communication between the both of you. It will also be easier to identify any alarming features or activities and find a suitable way to deal with them.
Hopefully by following these tips it will help you help your child become a responsible digital citizen.