Setup a family charging station: In a common area (often kitchen or family room) set up a family charging station where devices are left to charge overnight. By doing this you are aware when devices are being used, so you can keep tabs on screen time, and keep an eye on online behaviour.
Online Accounts: Make sure you are involved in the setup of online accounts (social media, gaming etc). Ensure all privacy settings are at the highest level to protect your child. Make sure their profile is visible to friends only, and remind them of the importance of not “friending” anyone they don’t know. Once set up, this is something you should be monitoring on a regular basis as these sites often change privacy settings and capabilities, also to ensure they don’t get “accidentally” get changed.
No devices in bedrooms: Your children’s devices (phones, laptops, tablets) should be left in a common area to charge overnight. There are several reasons for this. First, this promotes healthy sleep habits and removes the urge to check messages throughout the night. Second, a child’s bedroom is a private and personal space. You certainly don’t want children posting videos or photos from their room. Third, research has shown that online predators often reach out to kids online after 11pm, when parents are less likely to be monitoring.
Consider a monitoring device: There are many different devices available that can help monitor your family’s internet use. They can monitor screen time as well as filter online content to ensure no one is viewing anything inappropriate. Circle with Disney is a popular option.
Device free time: Set aside device free time. Meals, family activities, outings etc are important bonding times where devices should be put away. Being device-free is also important if a child needs to concentrate on the task at hand (homework, learning a new skill etc). Setting aside this time will teach your children the importance of unplugging from our devices and being present in the “real” world. Remember, these rules should be applied to parents as well!
Digital Superhero Training: Enroll your child in one of Cyber Smart Canada’s Digital Superhero Training sessions. The courses will teach your child how to safeguard their identity, how lurking predators use common apps & game features, how to avoid being a predator’s target, how they can protect their online reputation and much more. Click here for more information.