Technology and social media are expanding faster than our ability to keep up and our toddlers are often more proficient with a touch screen than we are.  So what’s a parent to do?

There are certainly safety issues that we will address.  There are ethical issues and privacy issues.  There are interpersonal skills to learn and decisions to make.  You will have to decide what you are going to monitor, how you will monitor and what conversations to have about what you find.  This is uncharted territory no matter how tech-savvy you are.

In this blog series, I will help you think about these decisions, provide resources and direction.  I will provide you with some basic ground rules and a context for talking about this evolving area of parenting.

Internet Safety 101 for pre-teens:

  • Keep technology in common areas of your home.  For young children especially, be sure computers and touch screens are in the common living area rather than in bedrooms.  Walk by often and take a peek at what your young children are doing.
  • Discuss all aspects of technology.  Talk about what kinds of sites are acceptable and what is not.
  • Be clear about not opening e-mails from people they don’t know and establish a rule about not clicking on pop-ups.
  • If your child has a page on a social site, ask to see it and to be “friended” so you know what is being posted.
  • Have discussions and set family agreements about passwords and providing personal information online.  Be sure you know your child’s passwords.
  • Be explicit about the need to come to you if your child sees or receives anything upsetting or gets an  invitation for meeting offline.
  • Show an interest in what your child is doing online and keep communication open.

Children carry the world in their pockets now and that is not going to change.  Your only choice is to be in the conversation, learning more as your children learn more and being a part of the evolution of technology in our lives.

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