in Education, iDevice, Resources, TechTips

5 Tips for Online Child Safety Over the Holidays

With lots of free time over the Winter Holidays, we can anticipate spending a lot of time using technology devices, be they tablets, smart phones, computers, Apple TVs and other streaming devices. Children may also be spending more time with technology. When I ask children about their activities at home, Google, YouTube, Minecraft, and various other tools are mentioned. In anticipation of the increased technology use that children will experience over the holidays, here are 5 tips:

  • Set clear, and firm guidelines for children’s use of technology, and establish technology free zones or times.
  • Incorporate technology with the physical world, using Robotics or other tools. Use Tynker or Tickle to program one of a variety of devices.
  • Turn on Parental Controls or Guided Access for your device. (Instructions for iOS, and Android)
  • Turn on Restricted Mode and other security settings or use YouTube with your child. (See instructions based on your device.)
  • For any apps or websites that your child uses, check whether or not it allows communication between users. If communication is allowed, ensure that communication is moderated/filtered, and that users have to have an account instead of being able to use the site/app anonymously. This will provide a trail for any issues of appropriate use, that your can report to moderators.

It’s important to help children be safe, and responsible online. Otherwise, the consequences can be mild or dire. Lost time that should have been spent doing homework instead of scrolling through Facebook is a mild consequence, while a child taking her own life due to online bullying is dire. Sometimes, we place too much of a disconnect between the virtual world and the physical world, believing that one is real and the other one is isn’t. As you talk to your children about their technology use, remember that technology is part of our real life. Be careful that the language that you use doesn’t enlarge the disconnect that exists between our online and physical worlds.

Read More on the topic:

Common Sense Media’s Parent Guide to YouTube