Published On: Mon, Feb 19th, 2018

Parenting in the Digital Age – Part One

It’s a parent’s worst nightmare – you find out that your child has been put in danger after having a conversation with someone they met online. Unfortunately, stories like this one happen every day. So what can you as a parent do to protect them?

First things first: communicate. And often.

Stephen Balkam, founder and CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute, says the number one thing to do is talk to your kids. Start as early as two or three years old and continue talking all the way until they get into college. Ask your child how they feel about social media. Create a social media contract outlining expectations and repercussions they may face if the contract is broken.

Follow your kids on all social media platforms and keep up with key trends. While you may not have time to be an active user across all platforms, it is important that you monitor their activity from a user’s standpoint. This will help you look for any red flags.

Unfortunately, what lands online today, stays online – forever. But your children may not think about the future consequences, so be sure to talk to them about this.

Additionally, according to a recent Up to Speed podcast by Verizon, parents must learn to be digital role models. Children are far more likely to do what you do as opposed to what you say, so be sure your actions line up with your words.

This is just the first part of protecting your child online. In a second post, we’ll talk about important settings on your phone you’ll want to check and how to keep tabs on what your kids are doing online, even when you’re not around.

About the author: Steve Van Dinter is Verizon’s PR Manager for the Great Lakes market. As a tech enthusiast and former tech reporter, he loves showing people how their lives can be made easier thanks to the use of new technologies.

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