Keeping your kids safe when they start using tech is important, especially since they’re using gadgets much earlier than many of us did.
In some ways, it’s a good thing because it allows them to enhance their learning experience. However, in other ways, it can be a bad thing with so many predators on the internet.
According to one study, almost 70% of kids own a smartphone by the age of 12. I personally ended up giving my oldest son his first smartphone at the age of 9.
Giving kids tech can be scary, though. AND today I wanted to share how you can keep your kids safe when they start using tech in case your kids are coming up to the age where they want their own smartphones and computers.
See Also: Tips For Getting Your Kid Their First iPhone
Implement Ground Rules
Before you even purchase tech for your kid, I’d strongly recommend having some ground rules in place.
For example, some of the tech ground rules I have in place for my kids include:
- No electronics on school nights.
- Electronics should only be used when in the learning center with the exception of cell phones.
- On weekends electronics can only be used after chores have been done and at least 30 minutes has been spent reading or doing another educational activity.
- If any of the ground rules are broken, all electronics are taken away for the remainder of the week.
- No using electronics while they are charging.
By having ground rules in place, you can be confident knowing that your kids won’t develop a technology addiction. Plus, they’ll still be able to experience other childhood activities without having their faces glued to a screen all day.
See Also: How Google Helped Me Get My Family’s Digital Wellbeing in Check
Educate Them on the Importance of Not Talking to Strangers Online
Kids are very friendly by nature.
However, just like you teach them about “stranger danger” in the real world, you also have to make sure they know that not talking to strangers online applies as well.
With kids loving to play games such as Roblox and Fortnight where a ton of creeps are lurking, it’s important that you make sure that they’re only communicating with their friends in the chats and not a bunch of random internet players.
My kids personally aren’t at the ages where I’m letting them have social media accounts yet. However, if your kids are on social networks it’s important to make sure they are only interacting with people they know as well.
Install Parental Control Software
You’re the parent….it’s okay to snoop on your kid’s devices.
It’s better to be safe than sorry AND your hard-earned money purchased the device and they’re living under your roof. Don’t feel guilty about staying in the loop about what they’re doing on their gadgets.
By installing parental control software you can gain access to the following features:
- SMS Monitoring
- Call logs
- Access to multimedia files (i.e. photos and videos)
- Online activity tracking (i.e. which websites they have visited)
- GPS monitoring (i.e. know their location in real-time)
- Instant alerts
- Words/phrases watchlist
Depending on the parental control software that you decide to go with, you may even be able to limit their screen time remotely and block specific websites.
The bottom line is that before you give them their new device you should already have some sort of parental control software installed.
Manually Check Their Devices At Least Once Per Week
Parental control software is great and all, but I’ve yet to come across a software that catches everything.
A manual check of their devices at least once per week is needed so you can go into the individual apps and see what they’ve been doing AND let them know that you are staying in the loop about what they’re doing.
When doing the manual check, simply ask them for their device and passcode and look through it in front of them.
Keep in mind that you never want to have a routine for the manual check. Alternative days and times each week when you do the manual check so they don’t come to expect it.
Only Allow Tech to Be Used in Open Areas in Your Home
As one of my ground rules, the boys are only allowed to use tech in the learning center.
Our learning center is an open area, which means their dad and I can always see what they’re doing.
We do let them have televisions in their rooms, but electronics such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops are a whole different ballgame.
Now, I’m not saying don’t trust your kids, but it’s no need to tempt them with the privacy of a door when they’re using handheld gadgets.
The open area just makes it so you can tell if something is wrong based on their behavior and facial expressions.
I personally feel as by having a clear line of sight on them when they’re on the internet it makes it less likely for cyberbullying or anything like that to occur and if it did you could find out quicker.
Educate Them on The Importance of Not Sharing Their Passwords
Kids like to share, usually….sometimes…..well it depends on your kids lol.
But, just like as adults we’re not going around giving out our email or even Netflix passwords (in my case ways lol), we have to make sure our kids know to keep their passwords private as well.
By keeping their passwords private it makes it so there’s no chance that something goes on with their device that it shouldn’t…unless they were pushing boundaries.
Plus, it’s a good habit to instill in them as they go into adulthood and won’t have as much of our protection in college, etc.
Conclusion: It’s Okay For Your Kids to Use Tech…Just Keep Them Safe
Making the choice for your kids to start using tech is scary. I’ve been there.
To make it easier just make yourself a little bit more tech savvier (if you aren’t already) and implement a few of the things that I’ve discussed today.
While we’d all like our kids to stay babies a little longer, we have to give them some freedoms as they age and unfortunately using tech is something that will probably happen in elementary school (at the latest) regardless of whether we’re ready or not.
What tips do you have for keeping kids safe when they start using tech?
This is such a great topic! Nowadays, kids are more likely to use gadgets most of the time. It’s best to keep them safe always. Thanks for sharing!
such a useful list! We just started having designated days where my nephew can use his computer,phone and ipad which is on fridays only. He’s 4 lol BUT you’re so right on establishing theses boundaries
I agree on all these tips. It’s so scary to be in the internet these days. It’ so important to moniter them.
Technology offers so many great advantages, but there are a lot of dangers too. Monitoring screen time is one of my big focuses but so is making sure my kids stay safe. Seeing what others use for their ground rules is really inspiring so I can navigate these new waters myself.
This is important topic that parents should know. Thanks for sharing about these.
So many great points and I agree that as a parent it is so important to know by our children the importance of using tech and how to be responsible of using it.
I understand how serious this is. I have a 1 year old and she can already get herself on YOUTUBE! Imagine how much worse it will be in 8 years.
Thanks for the tips. It is so important to get to kids early so that they are safe. Its such an ongoing topic too though, like they need to be reminded all the time/
Yes, definitely an ongoing topic.
I believe in the importance of monitoring a child’s online activity. I guess I am fortunate that my kids grew up in that time when smartphones were not yet the thing. I will share this information with my sister. She is worried about her daughter’s internet/smartphone usage. This is going to help a ton.
Such an important topic. Nowadays, technology is part of our lives, and children start too early. Placing limits and knowing when is the best age to give them access can be challenging.
I really enjoyed reading this post. These are really helpful tips. I have to make sure to share this post with my friends.
This is really an interesting time to be living and raising kids, I have seen so many horror stories of predators getting in contact with children through the internet, and whenever one channel is closed they just find another way. I don’t have kids yet, but I definitely see the importance of taking extra measures to keep them protected when using the internet!
It must be so hard and worrying when your kids start using tech – it is a crazy world online with so much going on and it changes so quickly you never know where the next safety issue might come from.
This is good advice and I’m glad there are tools like this that help make the job easier. I like tech but I’d want my kids to be safe.
This is such an important and timely topic. It is our job as parents to be vigilant about what things our children are exposed to.
Tech is so helpful and keeping in touch with your kids is so important. These tips are so important and keeping our kids safe while they use smartphones is essential.
I don’t envy any parent today who has to teach their children about the dangers of being online. Great advice and thank you for sharing. This needs to be learned by all parents.
we def have our routine and ideas on how to keep our kids safe when they are on their tablets. there are some restrictions as to what they can see for sure but i love that you shared some great tips
I always try to keep my kids safe and do a lot of these. I think that’s important. My kids roll their eyes when I do random checks, but you know, better safe than sorry.