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Keeping kids safe online...5 questions to ask your child

As a parent, I look at technology as both a blessing and a curse. Our generation is the first one to raise kids with sources of instant information, texting and endless YouTube videos. Unfortunately, it can also give our kids instant access to inappropriate information as well.

After I shared "7 Dangerous Apps Kids are Using" I received an overwhelming response from parents wanting to know what more they can do to keep their kids safe. As a parent educator, my focus is always on the parent-child relationship. My goal is to give you a "launching point" for discussions with your kids about technology and family expectations. I will also include links to websites with great information. So let's get started!

5 questions to ask your child

  • What do you like to do online? This might include discussions on gaming, social media, movie streaming, etc

  • What information is important to keep private? Why can't we share this information with others online?

  • What are things we can do to be safer online? You would be surprised by the tech information our kids can teach us!

  • Who do you chat with online? What would you do if someone you only know online asks you to meet him or her?

  • What apps do you have downloaded? What sites do you regularly visit?

Set rules and expectations

One strategy I always share with parents it to be proactive instead of reactive. How do we do that with technology? Sit down with your children and openly discuss rules you are going to implement and get their feedback, working together as partners to set up family expectations and consequences. When children get a voice in family decisions, they are less likely to fight discipline when needed. Parents, this also makes it easy to say, "You knew what the consequence to your behavior would be. You chose the behavior, you caused the consequence."

Some suggestions:

  • Keep the computer in an area where you can easily monitor their activity.

  • Remember to check all their tech devices (cell phones, laptops and gaming units)

  • Be aware of all apps they download. Some families restrict downloading of apps until the parent has reviewed and approved the app.

  • Be very clear about which sites are acceptable and which are off limits.

  • Know who is connecting with your children online, have their passwords for all social media, email and gaming accounts

  • Set clear rules about social media (no bullying, sexting, etc) and webcam usage

Getting kids to stay within the boundaries you set can be difficult. Contact Dare to Parent today to set up your "Strategies for Success" consultation!

For more information here are some helpful resources:

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