Parents seem to have a love-hate relationship with the internet. It can be an amazing tool that helps children learn, and let’s face it, it also can be a great “babysitter” at times.
Although having the internet readily available on most devices can be convenient, it is crucial that parents understand how dangerous it can be when they are not vigilant to monitor their children’s activities. Understanding the risk is key. So is educating yourself to the ever-changing climate of technology.
Talk with your kids about what you expect from them when it comes to how to use the internet in a safe and appropriate way.
Handing your child a device that has internet potential without teaching them the best ways for them to be safe is setting them up for failure. All too often parents are shocked when they find out how their children are utilizing their devices and admit they have never had conversations with their kids concerning their expectations for using devices.
Make sure you keep control when it comes to the way the internet is filtered in your house. Parents can purchase great programs that will allow them to control things like time management on the internet, sites that are available to the child and times of day the child can be on the internet.
Parents need to be consistent in checking in with their children on how they are utilizing the internet. Those who take a proactive approach to all things concerning the internet help promote healthy online behavior in their kids and help protect them from the dangers of the internet.
When setting boundaries for screen time, allow your kids to have a voice. This will help your child feel part of the process and will make it much more manageable when you have to correct behavior.
Parents also need to lead their family in using social media appropriately. Parents should set the standards on what is appropriate to post on social media sites.
The truth is that something posted on any social media site has the potential to reach not just those people you want to reach but also many people you never intended to reach.
With that in mind parents always need to be mindful about what they are posting and tagging their children in across all social media platforms.
For additional Faith & Family resources on protecting children in an age of technology visit www.thealabamabaptist.org.
Tips for Parents
- Be willing to educate yourself on things you do not know. Parents are often at a disadvantage in the technology arena, as their kids have grown up in a more technologically advanced environment.
- Set house rules with your child’s help and enforce them at any cost.
- Teach your children how to protect their privacy when they are online. This will probably be something parents will have to learn themselves.
- Monitor your own social media, making sure you are not setting a double standard for your child.
- Keep computers in locations in the home that are easily monitored.
- Seek out software that will help you in your fight to keep your children safe online.
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EDITOR’S NOTE — Faith & Family is a monthly look at important spiritual, cultural and relational issues facing today’s families.
For more articles on contemporary topics like these, go to PathwaysProfessional.org/blog.
Michael Bozeman is a Licensed Professional Counselor serving in central and northeast Alabama for Pathways Professional Counseling, a ministry of Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries.