A child psychologist and dad shares basic tips on how to effectively guide kids in using today's technology safely.
With the advent of technology, parents have to learn how to effectively teach their kids regarding responsible and safe use of smartphones and tablets. Doing this not only protects them, it also helps parents be more at ease with less worries.
Child psychologist and dad Adam Pletter gives some practical tips that answer some questions regarding kids and their smartphone usage. As seen in the Washington Post, these suggestions are directed towards iPhone users, but can also be used by Android users.
1) Make a contract.
First thing to do, Pletter said, "is to think about your expectations and rules for your children in the digital world."
Start with a simple list of rules that's easy to understand. For example, a rule could be that, before a child is given a phone or is permitted to use one, he/she has to be responsible for [actions, behavior].
"Parents and kids sign it and date it. Revisit the contract at least once a year to make sure it’s still on point," he adds.
2) Enable restrictions and have a conversation.
"Whenever possible," Pletter said, "you should enable restrictions on the adult device before your child has ever used it."
Restrictions, when set too high at the start, encourage conversation between parent and child. Such conversation is key, said Pletter, in teaching kids to be responsible for their actions online.
3) Turn off/uninstall YouTube.
Pletter suggests turning off or temporarily deleting/uninstalling YouTube if you are concerned about your child's use of the app, until the child is responsible enough to use it.
Kids, when properly motivated, can learn a lot. Pletter said parents can use the "yes, when..." approach in letting kids use YouTube. For example, "you can watch videos when you behave appropriately."
4) Have a guided access.
Pletter suggests that "after a brief set up, again under Settings, look for Guided Access." This enables parents to lock the app with a passcode or fingerprint, hereby enabling parents to know what their kids do before they do it.
5) Be a role model.
"Your children are learning about the world by watching you and that’s a good thing," said Pletter. "Be aware that they are learning and being shaped by what they perceive around them.
"Work toward being the good influence that you ideally want your child to be around. Your kids will quickly know more than you do."
Ultimately, Pletter reminds that "if parents don't lead, the children will learn elsewhere." Parents should take the stand to teach their kids what is right.
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