Tips for parents with children growing up in our digital world
Technology and digital media has changed the way our children, play, learn, communicate and socialise from an increasingly early age. Along with all the positives, mobile phones, tablets, computers, internet access and social media are presenting parents with new challenges. So how do we better manage our children’s exposure to the digital world from an early age, to ensure their long term wellbeing?
Establish your family guidelines.
Teach your children about technology from a young age and teach them healthy habits. As you wouldn’t trust your children with a baby sitter you knew nothing about same goes for trusting the online world. Do your homework, keep an eye out for their usage and interaction.
Whatever the age learning to respect privacy and protecting personal information should be ongoing and age appropriate. Look at how your child interacts with different technology. Is it used for fun, school, communication, creating, socialising. There is always an older sibling or friend who may influence your child so stay tuned to your child’s usage and keep talking to your child, guide them without over reacting.
Studies show the use of digital media at night can interfere with sleep quality. Thirty minutes before bed think about restricting computer, phone or tablet usage for at least 30 minutes before bed.
Respectful online interactions
Your kids should learn to be respectful in their interactions online, just as they would socialising at school or in the home. If they do find some troubling information or witness cyberbullying encourage them to come to you.
Everything online is not true
Discuss digital decision-making as your child gets older. How reliable is the information on a website, teach your children to not just accept everything they read or see online as true. We all know how clicking on the unfamiliar links can cause problems as can or sharing personal information on unknown apps or websites or clicking on suspicious links. If your child does receive messages from strangers teach them not to respond and to let you know.
Other useful tips include:
- encouraging your children to have face to face friendships and relationships not connecting online. This will help them develop their social skills throughout their adolescent years and beyond.
- keep up as much as possible with new apps and sites your children
- laptops and computers should be kept in family area and out of the bedroom
- use an internet system that offers parental control and personal protection
By Janice Killey Senior Psychologist at Psychologists Southern Sydney
If you have concerns about your child or adolescent and their wellbeing or mental health our psychologists are here to help. This website has more information about our practice and how we can help you.