We are living in a time where our children have access to remarkable tools that we did not have when we were in middle school and high school.
Because this is new territory and we can’t compare it to our own experience, it’s important to know how to navigate digital responsibility with our families.
The children and teens in our lives learn by watching us – and trust me, they are paying attention. Children and teens need freedom coupled with guidance and supervision for their digital lives. To protect your child and keep communication lines open, you must set the tone regarding the expectations you have of them regarding technology, and you must also be a good role model for them as you engage in your own digital practices.
- Know who your child talks to online. Review her buddy list: does she really know everyone, or are some buddies "friends of friends"? Have her remove anyone she hasn't met in person.
- Tell him not to exchange personal information like a phone number, address, school, best friend's name, or picture. No party invitations, revealing details, or meeting in person — ever.
- It is imperative that you have access to your children’s passcodes and that you keep an open dialogue going with them about making positive choices and staying safe. It is also critical that they have a clear understanding of what is acceptable to put into texts and in any type of social expression.
The digital world can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Utilizing a combination of love and limits as a parent can help you and your family find some balance when it comes to screens in your world.
This is Kimberly Baker for Church Health.