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Inside: Kids crave technology time. Find out four powerful internet safety tips for parents to keep children safe and eliminate power struggles.
This article has been sponsored by XFINITY. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
Almost every morning, my preschooler wakes me up by crawling into bed with me. She wiggles around for a few minutes before staring in my eyes and whispering, “Mommy, can I have iPad time?”
On the mornings I say yes, she sprints downstairs and plops herself onto the couch with a pillow, blankets and her iPad in her lap. I usually make my way downstairs after quickly brushing my teeth and throwing some clothes on, to get some coffee.
4 Internet Safety Tips for Parents
Can anyone else relate to this? Kids seem to crave technology time. I think it’s great that their lives are so intertwined with the power of technology, but I also want to protect my kids by using simple internet safety solutions, even from a young age.
I know there are risks associated with allowing my kids access to technology. Instead of fearing it, I want to be proactive by setting up some simple internet safety guidelines for my family.
Kids thrive on knowing what to expect. I like to tell me kids explicitly what they can do when using technology, as well as what they can’t do.
I welcome an open conversation so that my kids have a safe place to ask questions, and also so that they understand why I have certain guidelines.
For example, I have shown my preschooler exactly what apps she can use on my iPad. I have told her she can use it for a certain amount of time (I usually set a timer). She can ask me to look for new apps if she is feeling bored with the ones she has. In addition, I have also asked her not to use the apps outside of the ones I set up for her.
This idea of setting expectations can be applied to any technology device. The main goal is to emphasize what children can do, while also discussing what behavior you do not want to see.
2. Parental Controls
I have gotten familiar with the parental controls that I have available through my internet provider. For example, with XFINITY xFi, I can see what devices are online, how long they’ve been on, and even pause WiFi for devices on my network.
In addition, as my kids get older, I can keep them safer by setting safe browsing modes for kid-appropriate content with Parental Controls.
In addition, there are also parental controls that can be set on devices like iPads and televisions.
3. Setting Limits
In order to provide healthy limits for my children’s technology use, I like to set a limit for how much time they can spend each day on their devices (including TV). This provides accountability for me and also predictability for my kids.
I’ve heard a great idea about giving kids technology tickets at the beginning of each week and when the tickets are gone, they are done until the next week.
By doing this, I am also helping my kids learn a healthy balance of playtime verse screen time, as one in eight Americans suffer from problematic internet use.
4. Be Consistent
Monitor the device and be consistent. If you say you will do something, follow through. Being in the same room, and monitoring what your kids are doing while using technology is a great way to be proactive about internet safety.
I also find setting a timer and setting expectations for how long and when kids can use their devices can help build consistency. This helps to eliminate technology related tantrums.
Speaking of technology tantrums, there is a phrase that has especially helped me when it’s time for my children to be done with their device. I simply ask my kids, “Would you like to turn off your device now or in two minutes?” This is a great way to give them a sense of control, while still getting my desired outcome.
How do you implement internet safety in your home?
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PS – If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like How To Teach Your Children About Overcoming Cyber Bullying. And here you can find out more about technology tickets for your kids.