How to Keep Kids Safe Online – ETB #137

I speak frequently about how to keep kids safe online. I’ve found two camps of parenting styles when it comes to technology and internet usage. On one side, some parents decide to give no access at all to technology. On the other side, they allow their kids near unrestricted access.

How to Keep Kids Safe Online - ETB #137

If you’ve been around the Equipped To Be Podcast for very long, you know that I’m not a proponent of restricting all access to technology and the internet. At the same time, I’ve found that giving too much access without much monitoring and deep conversations with your kids can also backfire. I’ve talked to employees at some of the large tech companies and received varying responses about how to handle kids and tech, but it usually comes back to watching and monitoring. That’s a lot easier if you’re tech-savvy!

These days, it’s more likely a question of when, not if, your children or one of their friends will encounter bullying. I believe that the best middle-ground approach to tech usage is to use parental controls AND to have close relationships with your kids.

What does this look like in practice? How do you keep your kids safe online?

Conversations about Technology and Online Spaces

Relationships are at the core of having a balanced approach to online safety. Here are some things to consider when building these relationships and having these deep conversations.

Talk to your kids about why internet safety matters for their future. They need to understand the why. This is the principle behind the rule.

Give your kids some basic guidelines about internet etiquette. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, then don’t type it online. If you wouldn’t want it done to you, then don’t do it to someone else.

Ask your kids about their friends. Except for some of your highly sensitive kids who may be more likely to respond openly, your kids are likely not going to answer direct questions. Ask if their friends are encountering issues online. Open deeper conversations about your experiences and your friends’ experiences help your kids be more vulnerable.

Encourage Common Sense Practices

Implement some simple guidelines for device usage in your home like:

  • Use devices in open spaces.
  • Set time limits
  • Encourage to not always be on a device.
  • Engage with people, nature, and books.

Help your kids understand that with freedom comes responsibility. They need to know that you’re looking out for their best interests. It’s not about control but about their safety.

References and Links

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How to Keep Kids Safe Online - ETB #137