Of course I always thought I had as well, because I grew up without any social media, and I didn’t even have a smart phone or my own computer until college. That said, college is still a young and hungry for learning age, so I feel like I was able to catch up to the online age maybe as fast as kids today! Or at least close. The fact that they are growing up with the internet, means we have to stay ahead of the game and know how to keep them safe and informed. Sometimes I remember being a teenager like it was yesterday. That’s when I was learning to be a photographer and studying writing as well.
That’s where Verizon Wireless comes in!
The Pew Research Center found that 61% of parents “have checked which websites their teen has visited” last year. We can all agree that parents face a delicate balance between giving teens privacy and freedom to express themselves, and also in ensuring protection from the potential dangers of the internet. Here are 5 tips for striking that balance.
1 – Create tech-free time and places. For us, that’s family mealtimes, and any social gatherings, in fact. I don’t know that we can have this last forever, but right now, no tech in bed or even in the bedrooms.
2 – Know that it’s ok for teens to be online and that it’s a normal part of adolescence and development. Social media can be a part of that. The key is making sure that your teens know how to behave appropriately online, the way they do in person. Let them know that what they share might be seen by others indefinitely, and to take care in choosing what to share.
3 – Be a good online role model. That means to limit your own screen use time, and to model kindness and good manners. It’s hard for me to stay offline when the kids are around, only because I work in social media, but again – that is a learning experience for them at how I treat others online. And also, I can absolutely limit the time and work when they’re at school.
4 – Teach kids the value of face-to-face communication and what social media can bring to their lives. For example, we have relatives that are far away and sometimes the only way to “see them” is through video chat. This back and forth conversation and seeing the other person is important over only one-way interaction with tech. It’s a powerful tool.
5 – Check out Verizon Wireless and their The Parents’ Guide to Kids and Tech.
Now this is a topic that all parents of today can or will relate to – monitoring your child’s online activity. What I love is that Verizon Wireless has created tools that help us balance trust and safety. They have tracking programs and apps that limit teens’ online activity. And they’re dedicated to bridging the gap between safety and freedom, which is important!
You can look into the kid-friendly GizmoWatch and GizmoTablet, and also read about how getting a phone for your kid can help you, and how you know it’s the right time to get your kid a phone. How DO you figure that out? Read on!