Being a parent may be the best job in the world but it’s also the hardest! From the moment your child’s born, you’ll spend your time making them as safe and secure as possible. Whether you’re pureeing baby food, watching them at sports day or acting as an informal taxi for nights out, the majority of your time is going to be spent making sure your kids are safe.
In a digital era, however, there are new issues you need to be aware of. Although there are so many benefits associated with the internet, there are some risk factors too. If you want to ensure you’re incorporating online safety into your family, take a look at these top tips for parenting in the digital age:
Understand the Benefits
Some parents view the internet with fear, which isn’t surprising when you hear so much about the negative consequences of kids being online. While it’s good to be wary of online dangers, it’s also important to recognise the benefits that the digital age offers.
Children can learn a vast amount when they’re online, whether it’s via virtual schooling and online courses or simply via gaining experience and communicating with their friends. Kids need to have a good understanding of how to use popular programs and software in order to excel in school and prepare themselves for their future. By embracing the digital age but taking steps to make it as safe as possible, you can ensure your children reap the benefits of everything our virtual world can offer.
Use Parental Controls
There are millions of websites online and a significant number of them aren’t suitable for youngsters. However, you don’t have to give your kids free rein to visit any webpage when they’re online. Instead, you can use parental controls to determine what they have access to. You can either identify sites you don’t want your kids to be able to access or, alternatively, you can specify which websites users can visit on your network.
However, it’s important to remember that it isn’t just laptops and desktops that can be connected to the internet. If you have mobile phones and/or tablets in your home, you’ll need to ensure appropriate parental controls are set up on these devices too.
Help Kids Become Independent Using GPS
As your kids get older, they’ll want to become more independent. As a parent, this can be a difficult time. Although you want your kids to grow in confidence and ability, you also want to ensure they’re safe at all times. Fortunately, digital tools can help you to achieve both goals.
When you use GPS location tracking, you can identify exactly where your child’s phone is at a glance. To learn more, check out Family Orbit blog article to find the location of a phone number. This allows you to search for your child’s location simply using their phone number, which means you can identify where your child is at any time. What’s more – you can setup a virtual GeoFence to alert you if your child strays from a pre-designated geographical area.
Make Digital Playtime a Family Activity
Using digital devices doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. Many parents worry that kids spend too much time using games consoles, mobile phones, tablets and laptops but, in most situations, they’re concerned about their kids spending too much time alone using these devices. However, it’s easy to turn digital playtimes into family time.
If your kids are into gaming, why not ask them to teach you how to play their favourite game or have a family tournament? Alternatively, you could download a family-friendly workout or activity app and challenge each other to see who can be the most active. From group brain training activities to high-energy dance workouts, there are endless ways you can use tech to create family activities and entertainment.
Prioritise Other Activities
Although there are many benefits to using the internet, you probably don’t want your kids to be online all the time. Millions of parents have ‘screen time’ rules that limit how much time their kids can spend using tech devices and this is a great philosophy to use. However, it can sometimes lead to tantrums or disagreements when your child disagrees!
Instead of focusing on ‘not being allowed’ to use tech devices at specific times, try to put the emphasis on what your kids can do during this time. If your child has to turn their laptop off at 4 pm on a Saturday, for example, they’re more likely to grumble if they’re bored. By having other activities for them to enjoy, however, you can ensure they’re kept occupied, rather than being preoccupied with the screen time they’re missing out on.
Stay Up to Date
Unfortunately, cyber threats evolve all the time, which means there’s always something new to be aware of. If you’re new to tech, it can seem overwhelming at first but there are plenty of resources to help parents understand the cyber threats that pose a risk to their children. By staying up to date and understanding how malware, viruses and hackers can infiltrate your network, you can help to ensure your kids stay safe in a digital age.
Be Aware of Cyber Bullying
Bullying occurs just as frequently online as it does offline. In fact, it may even be more prevalent online because people type things they wouldn’t say face-to-face. Due to this, it’s vital to check who your kids are communicating with online and what type of content they’re receiving. From instant messages to social media platforms, you’ll want to keep a close eye on what content your kids are receiving, so that you can take action if it’s warranted.
Raising Kids in a Digital Landscape
Technology is a critical part of our lives and its influence is only set to increase in the future. By being proactive and using apps and software to keep youngsters safe, you can ensure that your kids have positive online experiences.
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