We are a part of the digital world where we are always surrounded by screens and social media. It has been reported that kids and teens tend to spend more time on their devices compared to adults. On average, they spend more than nine hours a day on their devices.
It is inevitable to not let your kids get consumed by digital devices and social media. They need technology to communicate with their friends, do research on the internet, play online games, and watch movies. Due to these reasons, they are experiencing more screen time than ever before.
In an increasingly online world, it is important that parents promote healthy online habits among their kids so they can use social media and devices safely and responsibly. Parents can also make use of monitoring tools such as a parental control app and enable privacy settings to monitor and control their internet usage.
Let’s understand how parents can promote healthy internet habits among their kids and teach them to protect themselves from harmful online dangers lurking on social media.
Keep an Open and Honest Discussion
First of all, you need to develop open and honest communication with your kid. You need to let them know that they can reach out to you and ask you about the uses of the internet and social media. They can come forward to share their online experiences with their parents and also discuss the problems that they encounter on social media.
When you allow your kids to talk to you about their experiences and problems online, you can stay informed about their online activity and then guide and protect them accordingly. You need to remember that your kid’s mine is not fully wired to understand the long-term consequences of their online activity. They should be constantly reminded that everything stays permanent on social media even after deleting something.
Discuss Social Media Safety
Kids may jump on the idea of trying out a new social media app as soon as it hits in the market. They love spending time on their social media apps, scrolling through their feeds, exchanging DMs with their friends, posting statuses, photos, and videos, liking and commenting on other’s posts, etc. They might understand how to use social media but they might not know how to stay safe on those apps. It’s important to have a discussion with your kid about social media safety.
Your kid should never under any circumstance share their personal details such as full name, the name of their school, their home address, or contact number with anyone on social media. You should also teach them not to post inappropriate photos or videos of themselves on their social media because even if they decide to delete them later, they stay there.
Kids should also be taught how to identify different online threats such as cyberbullying, sexting, pornography, and sexual predating and understand how to protect themselves from these threats. They should not talk to someone online who they do not know in real life. Most importantly, they should never agree to meet someone outside who they do not know.
Reduce Screen Time
One of the best ways to help your kid maintain balance in their online and offline life is to set time limits on their device usage. You can help your kid reduce screen time little by little every day. When they spend less time in front of their screens, they will have more time to spend with their family and friends.
Parents should help their kids maintain a balance between screen time and physical activities. You can do this by replacing their screen time with other activities that include outdoor activities. For instance, you can inculcate reading habits among your kids or make them involved in some extracurricular activities.
There are several parental control apps that also let you limit screen time on your kid’s devices. You can set time limits on their apps so they cannot spend more than the specified time on a particular app. That way your kid can balance between their screen time and other physical activities.
Become a Good Digital Role Model
Just like kids and teens, adults are also not immune to the charm of screens and social media. They also spend time on their devices to stay updated on the latest news, communicate with their friends, family members, and colleagues, use social media, watch movies, and play online games.
However, they should try to set a good example in front of kids by spending less time on their digital devices. Parents should remember that kids follow their footsteps and imitate their habits. So, they will be more likely to imitate their online habits as well. Parents should make it a point to not spend more time on their devices in front of their kids and set good examples by reducing their screen time.
Ask Kids to Make Healthy Connections
You can also encourage your kids to engage with healthy connections in the digital world. You can sit with your kids and ask them about the type of accounts they are following on social media. Once you know about the type of accounts they follow, you can ask them about their experience of engaging with those accounts.
For example, you can ask them how do they feel after following and engaging with them. Do they feel motivated and inspired or feel anxious and complexed after engaging with them? This will help you understand how your kids are feeling about their time spent on social media.
You can encourage your kids to follow accounts on social media that motivate and inspire them. Ask them to unfollow those accounts that make them feel less of themselves and depressed all the time.
Detox from the Digital World
Have you ever felt tired of being too much on social media? Do you want to get yourself off of social media for some time? Well, we suggest you opt for social media detoxing. You can detox from the digital world and also encourage your kids to do the same.
For instance, you can set a time to unplug yourself and your family from social media while at the dining table or on a holiday trip. Your kids may oppose the idea in the beginning but they will adapt to the change slowly.