As most of our local schools take a break for the holidays, there will be many opportunities for families to spend a little extra time together – a break from the daily rush of extra-curricular activities. This extra time presents an opportunity to discuss social media use and the internet with your children. You probably agree that this is a good idea, but are not sure where to start.
- To foster a culture of conversation in your household, have conversations from a young age, and bring up the topic often. You do not need to question your child about every website they have seen, but checking in with them for a minute or two every few days can have a huge impact.
- Ask your child about the apps and websites they use. Ask them to show you their favorite apps, and even teach you how to use them. Now here’s the tough part –if you think your child is using one that is not age appropriate, or the bad outweighs the good…talk about deleting it. For example, apps that allow messages to disappear and be untraceable are generally not used for anything positive.
- Reassure your child that they can always come to you when something they see online makes them uncomfortable. In this age of threats to our schools being posted online, it is important for your child to know that when they see these types of posts they should report them immediately, and should not re-share them on their own profiles.
- Be sure to discuss protecting their privacy online. Strangers online can be just as dangerous as those you encounter in person. Help your child understand what information should never be shared.
This topic may seem overwhelming, but the important thing to remember is that any conversation is better than silence. Take some time during this holiday break to listen to what your child has to say about their online activity and discuss how it will affect their future.
We have included some links with ways to get the conversation started below for you to review.
Have a safe and happy holiday!