In much of the world, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. For moms, it’s a moment to take be recognized for all you do. And for today’s mothers of digital natives — kids who grew up in a internet-connected world — it’s also a chance to recognize that your job is even more complex than the awesome responsibilities your own mother faced.
In fact, your job now is probably even more complex than what you yourself may have faced with your first kids born a few years ago, when smartphones and tablets were already ubiquitous. Immersion into the world of the Internet of Things, Instagram and Snapchat can happen at any age and the potential avenues for kids to find trouble online multiply with each new fad.
Most of us grew up being told not to talk to strangers. Nowadays, nearly all kids have intimate access to a device that gives them access to millions of strangers all over the world at any minute of the day. That’s why impressing your values on your kids when it comes to their screen time is crucial.
Here are 7 ways to do that.
1. Work with your child to establish daily screen-time limits and stick to your boundaries.
2. Teach your child how to use the internet and the applications. Agree together on the rules about which pages your child can surf, what applications to use and what games to play.
3. Tell your child that safe use of the internet means that personal information – including your name, address, phone number or email address – should never be posted or told to anyone online.
4. Remind the child that apps may not be downloaded, installed or bought without your permission.
5. Check the age limits on games before giving the child permission to play.
6. Remember the age limits for social media networks. Make sure your child does not create their own accounts without your permission. Agree on the rules of using social media channels.
7. Remind the child that the same rules of behavior apply online and offline. No one should be bullied anywhere.
8. Lastly, always remember that you are the most important digital role model for your child. If you are constantly on your smartphone or tablet in the digital world rather than in the real world with your child, you should expect your child to follow your lead.