Are our kids Digitally responsible ?
“We don’t have a choice on whether we do Social Media, the question is how well we do it.”
If your child has a smart phone or a social media account, if he/she uses an online platform for educational or non-educational purposes, then he/she is already a digital citizen. In this era where even schools have started to follow the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) rule, it is far-fetched to think that we can keep our kids away from the digital world. What gets guardians more concerned is the means by which they can make sure that their child is growing up as a digitally “responsible” citizen!
Tending to the 21st-century aptitude of digital responsibility is imperative to assist children with learning and communicating safely. Being a digital citizen means you know the ‘Netiquettes’ well, and it enables your child to have a more secure and more fulfilling experience on the web.
The Four Components Of Digital Responsibility
Why Digital Responsibility Is The ‘Need Of The Hour’ ?
Some guardians feel monitoring their kids’ digital use is a better way of guaranteeing their online protection, than teaching them all about it. The discussion appears so cumbersome that they lean toward getting the job done than talking about it. But, here’s the truth.
Monitoring your kid’s gadget and network use is conceivable just up to a specific time. You can’t tail them after they move out or screen your kid’s content when he/she opposes it. But if you can help them to internalize the significance of being digitally mindful, it remains with them. Regardless of where you are or where your kid is, you can find a sense of contentment since you realize that your child knows how to be sheltered on the web. Parents, counselors, and mentors have the obligation of displaying the correct conduct to children so that they can acknowledge what is good and bad, and follow the ‘Netiquette’ constantly.
Related : Ways to Foster Creativity in Kids
Teaching Your Kids To Be Digitally Responsible
Well, for a start, urge your kids to go through the Terms and Policies of each website they are using. I am sure most of us have never read the Terms and Conditions before they click on the ‘I Agree’ button, we don’t care about the rules unless we have to. Building up the propensity for acquainting yourself with the guidelines for every site is a strong advance to become digitally responsible.
Here are some more tips on how you can raise a digitally dependable citizens at home.
1. Follow The ‘Do As I Do’ Mode
Children are great imitators. They do what they see, and they incorporate it substantially faster. Rather than flatly telling them what to do, try demonstrating to them the correct way. For instance, if you disapprove your children of having a social networking account before they are 18, ensure you are not scrolling through your Facebook wall before them. Go for a digital detox yourself and let your kids know why they shouldn’t get into social networking before they are adults.
2. Discuss The Protection Steps
Take aside some time every week, or at least once a month, where you communicate with your child about the online safety measures. Explain to them what is meant by digital responsibility and encourage them to ask questions. Show them basic things that are straightforward and less easy to follow, for example
- Setting a strong password
- Not sharing the password with anyone, not even with the closest of friends
- They should not use abusive language or explicit photos on the web, and not tolerating any online harassments under any circumstances
- Also, tell them not to share personal information like birth details, passport number, and bank details via the internet, unless it is an absolute necessity
In addition to discussing the online safety tricks with your child, you can also take some precautionary measures like –
- Checking the location settings on your child’s mobile and disabling the location services when your child doesn’t need it
- Regularly monitoring the privacy policies of your home network and your child’s gadgets, if that is possible
- Enabling safe filter in your home network so that your child doesn’t have the access to explore illegal sites
- Setting a cap on the monthly data usage so that your children have limited access to the internet. This might encourage them to use their gadgets more for work and studies, and less for entertainment.
Get to know why children need Downtime .
3. Set Online Screen Time For Your Family
Before you go into monitoring your kids’ digital use, try using the screen time method. Come up with some rules on screen time and make sure everyone in your family abides by it, including you.
For example, make a rule of not using the phone or computer when the family is having dinner together, or no daily status updates when you are out for a vacation. By teaching simple things like this, you can teach your child how to maintain the balance between his/her virtual world and the reality.
There is no way we can disengage ourselves from the digital world today, but by teaching our kids the value of real relationships and direct communication, we can help them in realizing their limitations online and offline.
4. Introduce The Golden Rules
Here are the Golden rules that you can teach your child in order to become a digitally responsible citizen (and make sure you follow them too)
- Parents should use the internet as they expect their children to use it
- No one should ever indulge or participate in cyberbullying
- We should focus on the things that are under our control, for example – monitoring our children’s digital use, teaching them the pros and cons of using the internet, and regulate our own activities online
- Kids must immediately inform their parents, teachers, or any elders if they sense anything uncomfortable happening to them online
- If required, parents can rely on external parental monitor applications to make sure that their children are following the online safety rules
Digital responsibility has a lot more to it, this is only a hint of the greater challenge that we talked about here. The key to raising dependable kids lies in encouraging them to internalize values and rely more on direct communication. It is not tied in with disclosing to them why they should avoid the Internet, but more about demonstrating to them the right ways of using the Internet, with the hope that they can proudly call themselves ‘digitally responsible citizens’.
Thanking Emily Thompson who is a Cyber Safety Consultant at KidGuard for this informative post. She is just a neighborhood mom (and coincidentally a Cyber Safety Consultant) passionate about child and teen online safety. She is a firm believer of building a loving and trusting relationship between parent and child through open dialogue, education, and monitoring measures (when and if necessary).
How did you feel about this post? What all measures do you take to raise Digitally Responsible kids? Share your thoughts in comments section.