Disclosure: Thank you LifeLock for sponsoring this post. Please visit The Smart Talk for more tips on how to prepare your kids to develop healthy online habits.
Living a life that revolves around an online world, our kids are more intuitive to technology and social media. Internet safety for kids is imperative! Colby and I work diligently with our children to do everything we can to keep them safe online. We know how amazing — and scary — social media can be. It’s important to set ground rules for your children and The Smart Talk makes that conversation easier with a family agreement that includes smartphone tips.
The Smart Talk
To help parents better manage kids and technology devices and usage, The Smart Talk is a digital tool that has been developed by LifeLock and National PTA to assist parents in their conversations with children about technology. This free resource opens up the opportunity for clear, concise conversations about online platforms and the important use of ground rules. Setting expectations about online safety and privacy are essential before allowing our children into a “very adult” virtual world.
Whether you are gifting your child their first smart device, passing down an old device, or simply need to have the talk for the first time, use these handy smartphone tips and resources from The Smart Talk to start the conversation:
- Smartphones and most apps come with privacy settings to protect personal info. Set up parental controls to allow access to your child’s devices that includes email, texts, IMs, photos, and videos. Be sure your child understands that there are certain facts about themselves that should never be shared online, including: their address, passwords, and full date of birth.
- Designate device-free zones, such as the dinner table, homework time, in bed, in school, during face-to-face conversations, and other events/situations your family deems inappropriate.
- Be respectful when you comment online. Don’t say anything that you wouldn’t mind reading out loud to someone like your teacher.
- Set specific rules about what can be shared online. If you allow personal photos, be sure they are pictures parents, teachers, or other adults would be comfortable viewing. If sharing photos of friends, make sure you have their permission to share as well. Be mindful of posting embarrassing pictures of family and friends. Only re-share images found online with permission to avoid any copyright issues.
- Have rules for music, apps, and movies downloads. What movie ratings should be allowed? Apps and songs have ratings as well. Download age-appropriate apps and other media based on parent-set limits. Also ensure budgets are set on app stores to keep from over-spending.
- Discuss text and call limits. How many daily texts are allowed? Who can the child text or call? Have pre-determined times for when calls/texts are allowed. Always be respectful while texting. Forward inappropriate texts/messages to parents.
- Respect others at all times. While it is important to respect the privacy of others, it is equally important to tell an adult when bullying is involved. Parents should agree to act civilly when told about inappropriate actions on the part of others. Basically, if there is something that brings up questions or concerns, both the parent and child should sit down and talk about it.
Additionally, if you are planning on gifting your children with technology, these fun technology gift tags from The Smart Talk to remind your family to talk about technology together before the fun and games begin. Simply attach them to your gifts while wrapping and your children will immediately know that rules need to be followed in order to protect them with their new device.
After agreeing on healthy limits together, a personalized, official family agreement can be stored on the computer or printed and posted at home. Visit The Smart Talk site to check out this free resource for parents and create your own personalized family contract to encourage healthy digital habits.