At Kudoso, we want to empower parents to protect kids in the influential, digital world they live in. As parents, we know you cannot isolate your children from technology. It is a key component to the world in which we live so we should focus on how to form health connections between technology and our children. Tech safety and security is key to any plan, but setting up healthy communication opportunities within your family is just as important. Here are our top 5 actionable items you can do today that can start your family down the path to managing technology positively and effectively:
1) Have a digital accountability contract with your kids. Get it in writing, and create it with them. Be sure to outline your expectations with your kids on their online ethics and conduct and what privileges come along with cooperation and what repercussions come with poor choices. One of the points is that you should ALWAYS have an up-to-date list of passwords, websites, and apps that your child is utilizing to promote transparency and healthy communication between you and your children. For an example of a family digital accountability contract, check out http://blog.kudoso.com/todays-families-need-a-digital-accountability-contract/ for a sample of one you can implement today.
2) Set up a social media family check-in time every week. Schedule it into your planner or calendar app and get it on your kids’ schedule too. This will give you concrete time to communicate with your kids about social media. Have them sign in to their accounts with you and discuss things they like and things that they are having trouble navigating. What are their friends up to? Who is messaging them? Who are their new friends and how did they meet them? This can be a simple 20 minutes with each connected child, but taking this time with them will show that you care, that you want to be involved with their digital world, and that you are committed to supporting them as an intentional parent.
3) Be sure to make positive tech talk part of your daily lives, maybe even around the dinner table. What is the new upcoming app or website that everyone is talking about at school? Have your child show you how to use it, and then research it, read the reviews, so you are up to date on threats and opportunities of emerging websites. Be sure to also recognize that your kids know A LOT about technology. Engage them in positive ways. Ask them to help you be more digitally savvy, socially connected, and in the know. If they know they can be on both the learning and teaching ends of a tech conversation, they are more likely to engage and commit to that communication with you.
4) Recognize that your kids will make mistakes as they navigate the digital world. If you anticipate ahead of time that mistakes are a normal part of learning and growing, you won’t freak out when they happen. Have a plan in place to turn that mistake into a “teachable moment. Plan to be calm, use supportive words, and show them that you love and care for them throughout the entire interaction. Let your kids know you are on their team and you want to help them in those tough moments of learning and growing. While easier to write down than put into action, your chances of success will be higher if you take the time to plan ahead.
5) Tune in to and be aware of your child’s behavior. If their behavior changes drastically, they might be at risk. Are they avoiding the computer? They might be being bullied. Are they using their digital devices at different times of the night or day? They might have connected with a stranger or inappropriate content. Are they connected nonstop with no breaks? Something may be going on. Trust your parental instincts.
Coming Soon, Kudoso will be launching our Whole Home Solution for helping families manage technology in a digital world. Are you signed up for our newsletter, The Kudoso Connection, so you can be a Kudoso parent in the know? Be one of the first to get access to the only technology management solution that uses the cloud, hardware and software to manage EVERY device your kids use. Sign up today at https://www.kudoso.com.