Nowadays we live in a world that is driven by technology and our children are growing up learning how to use gadgets like iPhones almost before they can even talk – perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but you get the point. Technology pretty much dominates and certainly isn’t going anywhere.
With that being said, how do you handle things when your kids are growing up in this world and you know the dark side of things can be dangerous for them and as much as you want to protect them from it, you can’t really hide it because that could be more dangerous?
The truth is, there really isn’t any right or wrong answer to this and so what we’ve done is listed some tips below for how to talk to your child about the issues around online safety so that they can be more empowered to make the right choices.
Talk to them, not at them:
Sometimes as parents it can be easy to forget that children are people who also need respect, just because we raised them and they’re younger doesn’t mean we get to control them, so if you want to have an open communication and build trust with your child, then you need to talk to them and not at them.
How does this work in practice? For example, let’s say you want to open the conversation about posting pictures on social media, instead of going in and telling them that social media is dangerous for young girls to be posting pictures, you should simply raise concerns and allow a conversation to open up where you both participate and can reach an agreement.
Listen to them:
This follows on from the previous part and is equally important; in order to have an open dialogue with your child, they need to feel that you’re listening to them and their opinions and that you’re not just there to lay down the law.
Agree on boundaries:
Being there for your child and having open communication with them doesn’t mean that everything they say is something you’re going to agree with, you have to be able to set boundaries and agree on rules that you both feel comfortable with.
For example, you could ask them that if they’re going to have social media, to make it private and to not be too public with the information they share on there. Or you could reach a compromise where the condition of them getting a phone is that they agree to let you install the parental control app, designed by Family Orbit.
Hold space for them:
If you want your child to talk to you when there’s a problem in their life, then they have to know you’re someone they can trust and who will be there for them. Sometimes as parents we just assume our children know this, but our actions and words could cause them to feel otherwise. So, for example, if you want your child to talk to you about things like bullying, then you need to make the first move and let them know that you’re always there for them if they need to talk.