After reading some of the results from the Secret Life of Teens research study, the online safety conversations have been happening thick and fast at our house.
But I have to be honest – my boys are pushing back!
Dr Justin Coulson, parenting expert, has the answer. He believes that our teenagers’ stage of neurological development means the more dictatorial our approach, the more enticing the forbidden fruit (in this case, the Internet). So, my boys feel like I am boxing them in!
So, how can we keep our kids safe online, without them thinking we are cramping their style and sending them into a spin?
Here are a few ideas:
1. Get Involved In Your Teen’s Online World
- Get online ASAP and start learning about your teen’s online world.
- Set up an MSN, Facebook, Skype, Google+ or Tumblr account of your own – whatever your teen uses so you can learn and engage with them.
- Be friends with your child on Facebook and check out their latest posts and their friends.
2. Communication Is Key
- Just because your teen is tech savvy doesn’t mean they understand online risks.
- 80% of parents are having conversations with their teens about the online world but I urge parents to go deeper.
- NEVER threaten total disconnection from the Internet as your kids won’t then want to tell you if there is a problem online.
- Encourage your kids to talk to you and assure them they won’t get in trouble if there is a problem.
3. Establish Rules Together
- Collaboratively determine how much time they’re allowed online.
- Too many limits and restrictions can make ‘forbidden fruit’ even more appealing.
- Discuss what information your teen should and shouldn’t share online.
- Consider parental controls to help you manage limits.
So make yourself a cup of tea and get online now. You owe it to your kids!
Till next time