These five steps are HUGE in laying a foundation for knowledge and wisdom, for trust and safety.
So if you’re on our site, you are seeking—or have found!—greater peace of mind with technology. JupiterTechs is all over it. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the sheer depth and breadth , or the constant and rapid change, or the ubiquity of technology when it comes to your business, you can probably multiply that times five when it comes to your personal life. And if you’ve got kids or are closely connected to young people, you may have those same feelings: How on earth do I wrap my head around all this when it comes to kids? or Where in the world do I start if I want to make sure my kids are safe? If you haven’t thought about this, we urge you to. Because technology is awesome, but it also requires vigilance and attention—and plain old common sense—to stay safe and protected.
We here at JupiterTechs have felt the anxiety and confusion with our own kids’ use of technology, and we figured we’re probably not alone. No matter what age the children you care about are, technology is part of their lives and is only going to become more so. We want to bring you peace of mind on this front as well, by offering some concrete wisdom and advice on kids and technology.
It’s a pretty big subject, so watch this space for updates and posts about ways you can stay on top of it. As Fraulein Maria said in The Sound of Music, Let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start)! Here are a few things you can do right now:
BE AWARE. Take note of when, where, how, and why your kids are exposed to or are using technology (at home, in school, with friends, in the car). Try to be a bit more aware of this in the coming days—take a step back and just notice where technology is. You may realize you’ve been taking something for granted or haven’t even thought about it at all.
SHARE THE WISDOM. Talk to fellow parents, to educators, and to other people in charge of kids! Ask them to share how they control tech safety and any lessons or experiences gained. Are there any safeguards or apps or programs they use? Any rules they have in place with their kids that seem to be helpful?
DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Do some research, especially on tech devices and websites and phone apps. Just making an effort to be informed can help you feel less overwhelmed and can make a subject that seems intimidating feel much less so.
SET BOUNDARIES. Create and enforce rules about technology use in your home, such as rules on time allowed, on websites that can be accessed, on privacy settings.
MOST IMPORTANT: Talk with your kids. Have conversations about technology with them in non-threatening ways—learn more about the technology they use, the websites they frequent, the social networking they like. Keep the lines of communication open. Find small moments to teach about internet safety. Make sure they understand that you are someone they can be honest with: just as a good parent or guardian needs to know where a child is, whom they are with, and what they’re doing, a good parent should know where on the internet the child is, with whom they’re interacting, and what sorts of things they are doing. Consider setting rules about your checking their social networking accounts (such as Facebook and Instagram) regularly—not because you don’t trust them, but because you may not trust other people. Educate your children on predators and privacy settings, on not revealing too much online, on cyber-bullying.
These five steps are HUGE in laying a foundation for knowledge and wisdom, for trust and safety — no matter what age the child. It may or may not surprise you that many parents don’t do these basic things—they don’t know how or where or with whom their kids are interacting online. Their kids may not know about internet safety or predators. And that’s really the best place to start, is by being informed. Remember: knowing is half the battle!
Itching for more? Stay tuned for our next post. In the meantime, check these out:
+ On promoting tech safety in schools, from the Washington Post
+ Scholastic’s guide to keeping kids safe online
+ The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s extensive guides
+ Kids.gov’s resources
+ Tech safety from a faith-based perspective