As the school year begins and our to-do lists grow, the idea of getting through the first month of school can seem daunting. To add to the paperwork, meetings, and activities is the extra layer of parenting that we cannot lose sight of – technology – smartphones, apps, social media and gaming. Our children, otherwise known as “digital natives,” have access to the world that we never knew at their ages. For parents, it can be overwhelming and exhausting to the point that many turn a blind eye without giving direction to their children as to how to be respeonsible online. Think about it this way – would you drop your child off in the middle of Times Square in New York City with no guidance or instruction? Access to the world wide web is no different. They need age appropriate structure and guidance as to their usage…but how? Here comes the Digital Parent –
Below, we have put together a few ideas and links to help lighten your “beginning of the school year” load when it comes to our children’s technology use. We hope that these help!
- Ask younger children to think about being online like they would going on a field trip. Do not talk to people you do not know – stranger danger. Ask for help if you need it. Go to trusted adults if you have a problem or if someone is bothering you.
- Older kids need to understand what cyberbullying is – define it and explain it. Help them to understand what it means to be an Upstander and if they see something online that they are not comfortable with in texts, social media or even a picture, to come to you or another trusted adult. WiredSafety is a great resource to help facilitate the discussion.
- In addition to the above tip, Teenagers need to be aware of their digital footprint. Everything that they post on social media can be accessed and colleges and college athletic scouts pay attention to their online persona.
–Mary & Claire