In 2020, kids spent more time in front of the computer than ever. Between online lessons, staying social through Zoom calls, and playing games for entertainment, a lot of time was spent staring at a screen. While there are a wealth of resources to be found online, it can also be a dangerous place when unsupervised. Here are a few of our favorite tech tips for parents to keep your kids safe online.
Keeping yourself current on all of the apps and websites your child is visiting can seem overwhelming, but it should be done. Download the latest apps, set up accounts on websites they use, and get first-hand experience in what they are doing. You aren’t doing this to spy, but rather to understand privacy settings and content being shared.
Talk with your children as they explore the internet and visit websites with them. Talk about what they are seeing and reading and show them websites that you know they will find interesting. Share with them the good stuff and show them all of the great things the internet is capable of.
For every child who goes online, there should be a set of rules clearly defined. They should know what sites are off-limits, who they are allowed to engage with, and what they are allowed to watch. The internet can lead to content you may not want them to see and being clear about what they are allowed to do will lead to fewer arguments down the line.
Monitoring your child’s activity can seem like an invasion of privacy, but it is important in order to keep your kids safe online. A few of our favorite options include:
- Circle – Allows you to control screen time, websites, and apps. Pricing is currently about $129 a year or #349 for lifetime monitoring services.
- Bark – Bark will monito text messages, emails, social networks, YouTube, and more. Pricing is about $50-$100 annually.
- Qustodio – Encourages balanced screen time whole monitoring apps and websites. Pricing ranges from $54.95-$137.95 depending on the number of devices you wish to monitor.
Not only is it important to monitor what your child is doing online, but also how much time they are spending. Being in front of a screen for too long can encourage a short attention span, lower physical activity, and provide a greater opportunity for kids to interact with or see content you may find inappropriate. Make sure to set time limits when your kids go online so they are able to enjoy the internet, without relying on it for all of their entertainment.
Connect with their teachers and other parents if you have concerns about online behavior. At school, ensure the right levels of technology are used to enhance learning, not to replace traditional methods. When engaging with friends online, be wary of bullying, gossiping, and other behaviors that can be detrimental to a child’s self-esteem. Connect with other parents when you can so make sure you’re all aware and on the same page.
Reach out to us to learn how we incorporate technology here at Youthland Academy!