The world is full of technology, and, as a parent, it can be quite scary to figure out how to introduce your children to the internet. You have a few choices in front of you—you can cut them off from technology completely, allow unrestricted access, become a helicopter parent, or you can ensure your children are safe with technology. The last choice is the best one, but it can often be the trickiest to manage. Technology safety is hard to achieve, but it is well worth it.
Know What’s Age Appropriate
One of the biggest pitfalls that parents make with their children and technology is that they teach some safety basics and let their children figure out the rest. If you want to ensure your children are safe with technology, you need to find what’s age appropriate and what isn’t. For example, a lot of children are getting onto platforms like TikTok and YouTube, and while there is some content that is good for kids, there’s a lot more that isn’t.
Juggling this situation can be tricky, but there are ways to do it. You can keep your child away from platforms like these until a certain age and offer them alternatives, like YouTube Kids’. While it’s not always perfect, it does filter out unsuitable content.
Don’t Make Technology Taboo
A mistake many parents make with technology is they make it seem scary to the point where, if their child does something they shouldn’t, they hide it instead of talking about it. The main point you should emphasize with your children is that they can talk about technology and ask questions. For example, if your child accidentally runs into a scam, would you like them to hide it and accidentally fall victim to it, or do you want them to ask for your advice? When you make asking questions easy, your child will know they can rely on you to help them stay safe.
When children use technology, they can quickly get sucked into using it every day for hours on end, and this is not sustainable or healthy. You must create limits if you want your children to be safe with technology. It may position you as the villain at first, but if you start early and present them with healthier alternatives, they’ll develop a better relationship with it. Technology is a tool your children should occasionally use and have fun with, not something they need to rely on to survive. By creating these limits, you are laying the foundation for that healthy technology relationship.
Making sure your children are safe with technology is one of the most important things a parent can do right now, but it isn’t always easy. Technology is always changing, and you can’t cut it out completely, but that doesn’t mean you can’t manage your child’s use. Teaching your child internet safety has a lot of benefits, one of the most important being their mental health. You shouldn’t hover over them while using technology, but teaching boundaries can ensure that technology is a positive tool, not something that hurts them or puts them in danger.