As parents, we’re always trying to teach our kids responsibility and how to handle situations independently. It’s no secret that the Internet can be dangerous if used without caution.
So, when it comes to teaching your kids to be responsible and safe online, you can’t expect everything to come naturally. You’ll have to put in some effort, but the results will be worth it in the end. While our kids aren’t perfect at everything, there are certainly ways to help them learn proper behavior online as well as in real life.
Do you want to help your children navigate the challenges that come with having an online presence while still benefiting from it greatly?
In this article, we’ll share 10 tips you can use to teach your children online responsibility so they can grow up to be responsible citizens in today’s world of technology.
1. Create family rules about phones and social media
Kids these days have a near-constant connection to technology, and it can be difficult to teach your children about the appropriate use of social media and phones.
The first step in teaching your kids about online responsibility is by creating family rules that everyone follows.
One suggestion is to designate one day a week where no one uses their phone or social media accounts at all. It could be Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, whatever you choose, as long as it's consistent across the whole family.
Another way to encourage responsible use is to only allow access on weekends after homework is done. You might also set up guidelines for when someone needs to call home or ask permission before posting photos with friends or posting updates on social media.
Make sure that you set clear boundaries and rules concerning how often and where they can use their devices so that they know where the limits lie.
2. Give them privacy (and teach them how to manage it)
One of the most important things to do for your child is to teach them how to manage their privacy and safety online. Teach them about their profile, who should and shouldn’t see their posts, who can contact them, what information they post and what information they should be mindful of.
Teach them how to use Nuwber to verify the identity of people they meet online before getting too friendly or meeting them in person.
3. Talk to them about online responsibility
Talking to your kids about online responsibility is a great way to help them understand that the internet is not just a place to goof around and find funny videos. Instead, it can be a space where they could get into trouble very quickly if they are not careful.
This is a great way to teach them about appropriate behavior on the internet and help them understand what happens when they share information online.
So, by teaching them how to be more responsible with their online presence, you will set them up for success as they grow up.
4. Set a good example with social media
Setting a good example with social media is one of the best ways to teach your kids online responsibility.
If you are always posting positive things and positively interacting with others, it will teach your kids that they should do the same. Then, as you set an example, your kids will follow you.
When your kid sees you being kind and using social media responsibly, they are likely to do the same. They might even mimic some of your posts.
5. Limit your child’s access to internet-connected devices
Limiting your child’s access to internet-connected devices can teach them the importance of online responsibility.
Limiting their time will allow you to keep an eye on their interactions and ensure they are not getting into too much trouble. You may also want to monitor which websites they visit as some have explicit content or contain social media sites that may have inappropriate material.
6. Have them do chores to earn screen time
There are many ways to teach kids online responsibility, but one of the most effective methods is to have them do chores to earn screen time.
With this system, you can encourage your kids to take some responsibility for their online usage and teach them how to use their time wisely. For example, turn off notifications on all devices so that they don’t get distracted when a new message or notification pops up, and teach them the importance of focusing on one thing at a time.
This system also helps teach kids about the responsibilities of having a job and will make them more prepared for when they start working in the future.
7. Use parental control apps
While there is not one app that will teach your kids responsibility, using parental control apps can help you monitor and regulate their online activities.
For example, setting up specific times they can use the internet can help them learn self-control. You may also want to use parental control apps to block certain types of content or websites you do not want them to access.
While this won't necessarily teach them responsibility, it will give your kids a safer experience online.
8. Become an online detective
Becoming an online detective is a great way to teach your kids about responsibility. When living in the digital age, it's important to know what your kids are up to on the Internet. That's where being an online detective comes in handy.
When your kids know you can see what they are doing online, it teaches them how to responsibly use the Internet and social media and keep themselves safe while exploring their surroundings.
9. Monitor their social media accounts
Monitoring your kids' social media accounts with them, rather than doing it for them, is a great way to teach them how to be responsible online. Plus, kids today are so used to having their parents take care of everything for them that it's important to show them the ropes and teach them what they need to know.
Monitoring lets you watch out for inappropriate or unsafe posts and conversations with strangers.
10. Show kids how their actions affect others
It is important to teach kids that their actions online have real consequences. Here are some ways to help kids understand this:
- Explain the concept of cyberbullying and the consequences of sending hurtful messages or posting negative comments.
- Show them how they can be tracked by taking a drive through town together and then showing them how it's possible to track their phones with a website like Find My iPhone.
- Ask your children if they would feel comfortable knowing strangers could see what was in their pockets. Why yes or why not?
- Offer different scenarios for kids to think about and see how they would react.
- What if someone posted something embarrassing about me online? How could I stop them from doing that?
- What if someone harassed me online and said mean things about my friends and family? How do I react?
- What if I accidentally sent an email to all my contacts without meaning to? How do I get those emails back out of people's inboxes?
These conversations will help kids learn more about themselves while also learning how their decisions affect others.
Your job as a parent is to guide your children in the right direction. Allowing them to explore their own path will only make it more difficult for you and them. By teaching them how to be responsible with their online activities, you can ensure they make the best choices for themselves.
The 10 tips listed above provide an outline of some ways to help teach your kids about responsibility when using the internet. Implementing these strategies will allow them to take control of their online lives without affecting other aspects of their life too much.