With children being very technological savvy these days, it is important for parents to work together to keep children safe. Children are surrounded by potential threats, sexual images, and pressure to make unhealthy choices. Whether the danger involves cyber bullying or potential predators, there are daily risks for children who surf the internet and use cell phones. Most adolescents lack the skills to recognize danger and protect themselves from potential threats.
Set rules about technology in the house. A good rule is to take all cell phones, laptops, IPODs and electronic devices at a certain time every night. Have teenagers leave them in an assigned location, such as the kitchen, at night, starting at 9 PM. Then there is no temptation to respond to a text message at 3 AM or to use Facebook at midnight. Nothing good ever happens with electronic media at night.
By taking away these options, kids can then just tell their friends it is their parents’ rule and they won’t be teased for not responding to a text message in the middle of the night.
Set limits with the use of electronic media. Don’t allow children to text message all day everyday. Set rules about appropriate behaviors such as no texting during dinner or while in public. Limit computer usage. Kids who isolate themselves in their rooms with a laptop are far more likely to get into trouble than kids who use a computer in a common area of the home for a limited amount of time. Most doctors recommend two or less hours each day of screen time, which includes television, computer, and video games.
Be active in your child’s electronic media. For most children, it is appropriate for parents to set the passwords and have free reign to check social media accounts when necessary. It is usually the parents who think they would never have to worry about their child who often later discover their child has been involved in inappropriate activity later on.
Role model healthy behaviors for children. Parents who spend their spare time using the computer constantly are going to struggle to set limits and enforce rules about electronic media. Set limits for yourself if you are on the computer or cell phone a lot. Teach children that people can communicate even better in person and spend time doing activities together.