Technology is something that kids are learning from the time they are old enough to hold a smart phone. My four year old goes to a STEM pre-school (science, technology, engineering and math) and even at that early age, they use the computer to learn and technology like an interactive whiteboard and iPads to do everything from tracing letters to listening to story time. When I walked in there for a parent workshop, I was amazed. There amongst the toys and books was technology that I donât even use on a daily basis.
This is the changing face of education. Kids are learning how to use tablets, smartphones and computers almost from birth and this technology will be what takes them into adulthood. With all of the great things that this technology has done for us, it has also brought us cyber bullies and predators, too. These people are out there to hurt our children and they live online. Keeping your kids safe from them is a full time job.Here are some tips for raising internet savvy and safe kids:
- Supervise your small children at all times when they are on the internet. You may be tempted to leave them listen to a story on You Tube or multi task while they are learning about their letters. Their little fingers can easily click around (especially on a site like You Tube). Elementary Schoolers are curious and their curiosity can get themselves in trouble. Sometimes even just misspelling a word in a search can lead them to a place where they shouldnât be.
- Setting time limits for internet use and enforcing them is key. Make sure that your kids arenât spending too much time online. If you start them with the right internet habits from early on, they will be less likely to abuse the internet later on in life. The American Academy of Pediatrics in their journal this month have new recommendations for screen time. They recommend no more than 2 hours per day. In the article, they disclose some startling statistics as well. They note that the average 8 year old spends 8 hours per day using different forms of media. Excess use of media can lead to obesity, attention issues and troubles in school. Itâs not just important to have your little kids limit their screen time, but teenagers should adhere to these guidelines as well.
- Itâs harder for parents to monitor every minute that your teenager is using the internet. With teens on the go and taking their cell phones and tablets with them, itâs easy for them to overuse the internet and also visit sites that arenât really appropriate for them to be viewing. Teens are curious and even though they sometimes act like adults, they arenât. They can be visiting sites or interacting with people online that they shouldnât be.
Chad Singer is a ghost blogger for a tech blog, internet safety advocate and dad. When not writing or chasing around his kids, you can find him contributing at Phone Sheriff, a parental control app that helps parents keep their kids safe online.
This blog is listed under IT Security & Architecture Community