A dear friend of mine asked me on Facebook if I could share with her my “top 3 safety tips” she needed to know, now that her oldest was 7 and her youngest was fast approaching internet age. While I could talk for hours on this topic, I think I came up with the 3 things that parents of young digital natives should think about as they brace themselves for the years ahead.
1. I would start with thinking what you want your family rules about internet to be.
– Are they allowed to download things to the computer/device? If so what/when?
– Are they allowed to talk to other people on sites, games, etc? If so, who and when should you know about it?
– Who is in charge of passwords – you or them?
– Do they really get what privacy means and why we keep our personal info to ourselves?
2. Think about setting up a transparent dialogue about tech and digital activities.
Casually talk about different sites, games, devices, etc so that it’s known that those things are under your watch, just like other offline toys, games & relationships.
3. Think honestly about your kids naiveté and innocence.
Are they on the younger/more doe-eyed side of that spectrum? If so, make sure they know not to trust everything they see on the internet.
Are they more street smart? Make sure you are having the early conversations about bullying and how you expect them to treat others, even when they can’t see the other person’s face.
Just like with all parenting – there is no silver bullet, but the earlier you start taking the benevolent authority role with digital, the more they will see you as a resource rather than an adversary.