My wife and I keep a closer eye on our children’s online activity than most parents. This includes web browsing history, social media apps and any text messages. Then I read that a recent study shows that 22% of British parents allow their children under 7 years of age go online unsupervised. This is scary as most are probably using an unfiltered web browser, parents don’t review where they went and this leaves a big potential opportunity to “innocent” click (or tap) on inappropriate things online. Parents must get involved with their children’s technology use and cannot just use it as a virtual babysitter to keep them busy. Technology is being embraced at earlier ages with children which is great as kids will grow up with technology and will surely work with it too but there has to be a healthy balance. This balance can be different from family to family but we focus on 2 pillars:
1. Technology Addiction
Allow technology use but set timers or schedules when technology use is OK. This will build time management skills that will be highly valuable in the future. Another approach that works well is build “earned time” by doing chores and to-do lists. Of course, parents are busy and don’t always have time to delegate or even do the chores themselves (I know!) Mobile apps do exist to help parents have their children reminded that their time’s up including Boomerang Parental Control that enforces device time for Android devices.
2. Safe Content
The web browser is still the most used app for browsing content and as such parents should make sure their child is using a safe browser that filters innapropriate content. Safari on your child’s iPod or iPad is not a safe browser! Many safe browser options exist today but we are biased with SPIN Safe Browser which is available for free for Android and iOS devices.
Lastly, nothing replaces a conversation face to face. Be open with your children and they’ll reciprocate.
Some of the original inspiration for this post came from: http://www.scmagazine.com/eset-surveys-reveal-ages-of-unsupervised-children-surfing-the-web/article/478531/