Relationships require three things to survive: communication, consistency, and honesty. This is true for all relationships, not just adult ones. We need to keep an honest and constant dialogue open with our children for our relationship with them to be its best. That’s why it’s important to not shy away from discussing big issues with your children – by trusting them to be mature enough to have this conversation with them they in turn come to you when they’re in trouble.
One of the biggest issues facing people today is online safety: with everything becoming digital, it’s often something we don’t think about in the face of convenience, for fear that it will someone taint our super-fast, super fun time on the internet. However, being safety conscious online doesn’t make you a spoilsport, it just makes you more aware of the potential dangers we all face digitally. As a parent, it’s imperative that you speak to your children about online safety and the safety measures you may use to keep them out of trouble, such as:
- Social media etiquette. Talk to your kids about what they should and shouldn’t share online. Teach them that less is best and that they shouldn’t friend people they don’t know.
- Online predators. They’re more common than you would like to think. Educate your kids on how to spot an online predator and how to report them when they do.
- Some kids see what is actually cyberbullying as just “jokes”. Teach your kids that it’s as serious as real life bullying and that they shouldn’t tolerate it from anyone, nor should they take part in it.
- Online gambling. More specifically, the new trend of buying “loot boxes” or “packs” in video games for randomly selected content. This is simply gambling, playing with odds to get a preferred outcome. Make sure your kids are aware that this type of behavior is unhealthy.
- Parental Controls. These filter and restrict content on the internet, as well as monitor a child’s activity should you wish. Have a sit down with your kid and explain to them why you’re using parental controls. Agree with them what and what isn’t appropriate for them whilst making sure they don’t feel victimized by your actions, otherwise they might attempt to go behind your back and endanger themselves in an effort to act out.
When you’re a parent, all you want for your children is their happiness and health. Their online life should be as protected as they are ‘IRL’ (in real life). Talk to your kids today about online safety.