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5+ Tips for Families Living in the Digital World

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5+ tips for families living in the digital world An Expert Guest Blog SmartSocial.com

Learn how to have a dialogue with your child, build your expertise and model positive ways to communicate using technology

Should you really care about your child’s online presence?

You definitely should care about your child’s online presence, but some parents wonder how much they should care and how they should show concern. My philosophy is that parents should care about everything their child is doing online because everything your child does, gives you information into who they are, how they react, what they know, and what motivates them. When it comes to your child’s online presence, I hear too many parents focusing on the dangers and the restrictions rather than focusing on their child’s social skills development and their ability to adapt to new things.

Here is a great set of questions that your kids:

  1. What are you doing online?
  2. Do you have a set of online friends who you don’t know in real life?
  3. What excites you about being online?
  4. Do you do more than be social online?

Be safe and social

There are a lot of times when kids really develop social skills because they are playing games online with friends.

Parents tend to think that all of their kid’s online friends are bad, negative, and horrible. However, there are a lot of times when kids really develop social skills because they are playing games such as Minecraft and Xbox Live online with friends. If we dismiss those friendships, then we are dismissing a part of our child’s identity that is really important to them. The goal is to try to find out how your child is interacting with these friends by looking at your child’s conversations with friends and viewing your child’s online friends screen names to see if they are being safe while being social.

The social face of social media

Teach students that if they wouldn’t say something to someone’s face then they shouldn’t say it online.

If your child is a bully in everyday life, they will be one on social media. If your child is meek and humble, or even shy, that will be reflected in their posts and shares. If your child is a technophile, they’ll be able to bypass all those high-tech parental controls you so unwisely trusted.

Teach students that if they wouldn’t say something to someone’s face then they shouldn’t say it online.

Have a dialogue

The best way to set boundaries is to talk to your child first before you set limits.

The best way to set boundaries is to talk to your child first before you set limits. Do not rely on what research says solely. Do not rely on what the teachers say solely. Do not rely on what the news says solely. All of these things are part of your framework and should be things that you keep in mind as you approach this discussion, but make sure you also get your child’s perspective so you can come up with some boundaries and limits that are about your kid and where they are. It’s really important that you focus on who your kid is as you are setting these limits.

Build your expertise

It’s really important for you to learn about all of the different social networks and apps that are out there. Learn how the privacy settings work and how information is shared on that network or app.

Be vigilant

Check to see what your child is posting from time to time.

I always advise parents to have accounts on all of the social media networks that the child has access to or have access to your child’s account. Ask your child to show you what their profile looks like and ask them to tell you about how they use the site. Check to see what your child is posting from time to time.

Set guidelines

Set up guidelines for your children and make sure that there is a probation period first that lasts a few weeks. So that they can make mistakes with their new devices and then you can come up with healthy solutions. Rules should include the duration that someone can use the device, Internet usage if any, parental controls on the device (you should tell them if you use these), password and usernames (parents should know these), and consequences that are clearly defined if rules are not followed.

  • Model the behavior that you would like your child to have when it comes to usage of devices.
  • Make sure that you research any device that you are thinking of buying.
  • Make sure that you know what safeguards the device has and get those activated before you give your child the device.
  • Have conversations with your child about expectations of how devices will be used.

Model positive ways to communicate using technology

You can communicate with your kids in the way that they prefer to communicate. I tell parents all the time if your kid likes to text, text them. Don’t try to call them to see where they are, just text them and say “Hey, you need to be home at 4.” Connect with your kids in the same way by sending funny videos, funny emojis, and funny memes so you can build a connection with your kid while modeling for your kid a good way to communicate with technology. This can help them avoid inappropriate modeling.

About our guest blogger: 

Headshot of Mercedes Samudio
Mercedes Samudio

Mercedes Samudio is a licensed clinical social worker, parent coach, and author of "Shame Proof Parenting." 

This post is an excerpt from the 2017 Digital Citizenship Conference in Los Angeles. The conference was a rich environment for educators, law enforcement officers, and parents to openly discuss issues and solutions for helping students shine in the digital world.

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Quotation marks

This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

StarStarStarStarStar

Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

StarStarStarStarStar

Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

StarStarStarStarStar

Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

Learn more

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