Let's Talk

Online Socializing – Part 4

Talk to your kids:

The best way to protect your kids online? Talk to them. While kids value the opinions of their peers, most tend to rely on their parents for help on the issues that matter most.

Start early.

Young kids see their parents using all kinds of devices and also might be playing games or watching shows on them. As soon as your child starts using a phone, mobile device, or computer, it’s time to talk to them about online behavior and safety.

Initiate conversations.

Even if your kids are comfortable approaching you, don’t wait for them to start the conversation. Use everyday opportunities to talk to your kids about being online. For example, news stories about cyberbullying or texting while driving can spur a conversation with kids about their experiences and your expectations.

Communicate your expectations.

Be honest about your expectations and how they apply in an online context. Communicating your values clearly can help your kids make smarter and more thoughtful decisions when they face tricky situations. For instance, be specific about what’s off-limits and what you consider to be unacceptable behavior.

Supervision is important.

When very young children start using mobile devices or a computer, they should be supervised closely by a parent or caregiver. If little kids aren’t supervised online, they may stumble onto content that could scare or confuse them.

Be patient and supportive.

Resist the urge to rush through these conversations with your kids. Most kids need to hear information repeated, in small doses, for it to sink in. If you keep talking with your kids, your patience and persistence will pay off in the long run. Work hard to keep the lines of communication open, even if you learn your kid has done something online that you find inappropriate. Listening and taking their feelings into account helps keep conversations afloat. You may not have all the answers, and being honest about that can go a long way.

source: FTC