*THIS IS A GUEST POST. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do no necessarily reflect my own.
Parental monitoring is a slippery slope when it comes to digital safekeeping while trying not to invade your kid’s privacy. However, honest and open communication between a parent and a child can help achieve it effectively.
Every kid spends several hours every day online. It’s not a secret that kids have access to all kinds of things; it’s a parents’ job to educate their kids on the safe and moral use of the internet.
Furthermore, parents should strive to build a level of trust with their children, so they respectfully monitor their social media activities without being invasive.
Your kids’ behavior is a reflection of your upbringing and values, so it’s very important to have an honest conversation with them about the pros and cons of having access to social media. When it comes down to it, monitoring is more about safety than privacy.
Most apps have the parental control software that gives both the parent and the kid what they want. Depending upon your kid’s maturity level, here are a few ways you can open this line of conversation with them and monitor their social media activities to help them stay safe.
1. Honest Conversation
Before giving your kid access to the internet and social media, you need to have an open conversation with them about the positive and negative side of social media. Without adult supervision, children can access the wrong content on the internet, which can be harmful.
There are a number of websites and videos that are not suitable for children. However, kids are very curious, so it’s important that you tell them beforehand what they are going to find on the internet and give those valid reasons as to why they are not allowed to use a certain website or watch certain content.
You are not going to be able to monitor 24/7, so it’s important to give them a chance and trust them to think for themselves. You cannot hide and protect your kids from the atrocities of the world, no matter how hard you try. So, it’s better to be upfront about it.
You can’t shield them from inappropriate material because the internet is, most of the time, not a child-friendly space, but you can teach them how to deal with different kinds of information they come across on the internet. Kids copy their parent’s behavior, so you can sit with them and give them a practical example of good online behavior.
Sit with your kids and surf the internet with them and show them step by step what they can do to access the information they need and how to deal with intrusive and inappropriate websites and links.
2. Cyberbullying and Predators
The Internet is filled with all kinds of people, and that includes bullies, predators, and pedophiles. It’s important to educate your kid about good and bad touch and help them learn when someone is inappropriate with them.
Once your kid starts using social media, they may experience cyberbullying, so it’s important that you let your kids know that you have their back and they can come to you with any problem. Cyberbullying has a great impact on your child’s mental health. Let them know that no one is allowed to cause them any harm and how to deal with it.
There are hateful and mean comments all over the internet, and sometimes cyber bullying gets out of hands and results in actual damage. Teach your kids not to engage in this behavior and remind them that this is not tolerated.
You are giving them access to social media for a positive outcome, and so they can have an online presence of their own, and they should not misuse it. There are parental control software for this as well that keeps you in touch if your child engages in any harmful activities.
3. Protecting Personal Information
Children are not as mindful when it comes to surfing the internet or social media. They don’t think twice before posting something online or sharing personal information with strangers. Hence, talk to your kids about the dangers of sharing personal info online. Teach them to be careful when revealing their location and whereabouts.
Your kids can unintentionally share private information about themselves or your family on different social media sites, video games, apps, and online chat platforms or disclose their whereabouts. Cybercriminals can use this information to harm you or your child financially or even physically.
You can use a number of safety apps and safety guidelines that help your kids from sharing any private information online. Monitoring what they post will help them post anything potentially damaging. It’s important to let your kid know that you are using these precautionary measures and the reason behind them to gain their trust and not act like a peeping tom.
4. Limiting Screen Time
What your kid does online is a debate for another time, but almost every kid spends an average of 8 hours online every day, whether it’s on their tablets, mobile phones, or PCs. Limiting your screen time is important for adults because of all the negative health impacts, but children cannot decide for themselves.
Parental guidance is important every step of the way for your children; it’s easy to get lost in the digital world filled with interactive web designs and endless distractions. Physical activities have been replaced by online surfing and video games, and due to the global pandemic, online classes have increased screen time even more.
Kids need to have proper healthy nourishment for both body and brain. It’s important to set limits for social media and screen time and enforce this behavior by partaking in it. Set simple ground rules like no phones at the dinner table or an hour before bedtime.
Takeaway- Open Communication is the Best Policy for Digital Safekeeping
Most of the time, your children will not be able to tell right from wrong. It’s the responsibility of a parent to educate their kids about the dangers of social media and the ethics of using the internet safely.
It’s also important to build a level of trust by talking openly, being upfront about any monitoring tools you are using, and explaining the reasons behind this decision, so kids don’t feel like their privacy is being invaded.
What tactics are you using to monitor your kid’s social media activities?
About the author:
Arslan Hassan is an electrical engineer with a passion for writing, designing, and anything tech-related. His educational background in the technical field has given him the edge to write on many topics. He occasionally writes blog articles for Dynamologic Solutions.