After sharing some of the top mobile and online safety concerns of parents, this post will explore how to talk with kids about online safety. When is too early? How much information should we give them? What type of conversations should we be having?
I think it all depends on the age of your child(ren). Your teen may need a lot more information than your preschooler, and the devices they use will be different. For example, my six-year-old daughter doesn’t yet use texting or the Internet. She does however use apps, on our mobile phones and the iPad. For her, it’s much more important that we talk about proper use of apps and avoiding advertising or purchases, rather than discussing texting while driving. That won’t make much sense to her since it’s not relevant for the phase she’s in.
Depending on your child’s age, you may consider discussing any (or all) of these topics:
- Advertising: What is advertising? How can you tell if it’s an advertisement? What should you do (or not do) if you see an advertisement?
- Apps: What type of apps are allowed for your family? Who can purchase apps? What is the spending limit for app purchases?
- Screen time: How much time is allowed for using mobile devices?
- Texting: How much texting will be allowed? What type of messages are safe and unsafe? Driving safety (avoiding texting and driving).
- Safe browsing: Deciphering between legit and good resources vs opinion-based sites. Avoiding scams. What is a predator? What type of information do we never provide online?
- Cyber bullying: Recognizing this as a legit form of bullying. How to avoid feeding online trolls. Ensuring we are not partaking in bullying techniques ourselves.
- Netiquette: Basic net etiquette and manners. What are emoticons? How can they be used to convey emotion online? What are online acronyms and what do they stand for?
Of course, this is just a sample of topics you can discuss when it comes to talking mobile and online safety with your children. There are many more I have failed to list. Inform yourself, ask questions, and be open with your kids. Let them know that if something doesn’t ‘feel’ right, they should ask you about it. Though there are aspects of letting your kids online that may seem scary, it doesn’t have to be. Check out the AT&T Mobile Safety page for more info too!
What other topics would you discuss with your children?
I’ll have one more post to share with you in the coming days regarding the AT&T Mobile Safety School events I hosted. Look for it soon!
Disclosure: This post is part of a compensated campaign for the AT&T Mobile Safety program.
Photo source: Anthony Kelly/Flickr