5 Tips for Talking to Your Children About Digital Safety

Technology is amazing. It allows us to connect with people like never before, and gives us new, easy ways to go through life.

If you need a recipe for dinner- load up your iPhone, if you need directions to a new store, you can wait until you are in the car and then simply speak the address. No more searching, printing, filing, and finding papers- it’s all right at your finger tips.
Parents need help monitoring a child's cell hone use because the potential dangers of their connection to the Internet
The same holds true for kids. This morning my son asked me how long a killer whale was, and I showed him how to look that up on Google.

But we’ve had the ‘talk’ before about being safe and responsible on computers, ipods, smartphones, and tablets, the problem is, a lot of people haven’t. They simply don’t know what to say, and how to say it.

Here are 5 tips that should help you have the ‘talk’ about digital safety:

Make It Age Appropriate– There is no reason to terrify a child of 8 years old who is using a highly private Facebook account. Similarly a 17 year old needs to completely understand what the risks are, and why she needs to be careful, sugar coating it for her/him does nothing to teach them the real world issues at hand.

Describe what can happen– Research some news articles about things that have happened in your state, in small cities, and to kids around the same age as your own. Explain to them how these kids have families just like yours, and discuss how people would react in your family if the same thing happened in your home.

Discuss specific information that is and isn’t acceptable– Kids and teens may respond more easily to specific information. For instance, it’s OK to use first names when talking about people, but it isn’t OK to name stores, streets, etc when discussing plans and locations. You might want to print out a list, like the following:protect your child while using a cell phone by installing Kidtrack the premier cell phone tracking service

Not OK to share on social media and text:

  • Locations
  • Last names of anyone
  • Phone numbers
  • Addresses

How to share this information besides social and text- email, phone calls, in person.

Teach Them How to Deal With People They Do Not Know– Someone is going to private message or text your child at some point, that doesn’t even know them. It’s bound to happen, as you’ve probably gotten messages like these yourself.

This could be a predator, or it could be another student in their grade they don’t remember. It isn’t a good idea to teach them to immediately assume the worse, but to be careful.

Certain messages will warrant deletion and banning of the other person’s account. For instance, anyone looking to date, someone who mentions finding your profile and wanting to get to know you, etc.

Another student would most likely say they are a student at the same school, and as that is much easier to verify (and should be verified) so this is acceptable.

About meeting someone you’ve met online– This is most likely going to be a no-no, but you have to discuss it, because it will come up and you want to be part of the meeting/conversation.

Your teen is going to come across someone they haven’t met before and strike up conversation. Eventually they might want to meet one of these people, and they should always discuss this with you. You can put certain guidelines in place, such as letting you meet the person, the meeting being in public, etc.

Having the ‘talk’ about digital safety with your kids/teens doesn’t have to be difficult. Be honest with them and then follow up with a parental tracking program like Kidtrack to ensure their safety and make sure they stick to the guidelines you’ve taught them.

If you’ve already had the talk with them, what do you recommend for other parents who are getting ready to introduce their kids to a more social world with digital products?
photo credit: Capture Queen ™ via photopin cc

photo credit: qthomasbower via photopin cc

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