Put Time Limits on Tech: I’ll be the first to admit that it’s easy to spend tons of time online. What starts with a search for an assigned topic can quickly turn into a leap frog effect from site to site. And while I’m not against screen time, I think it’s essential to put limits on it. With 92 percent of teens reporting that they go online daily and 24 percent of those teens admitting that they are online almost constantly, we suggest setting a strict time limit policy. Set a certain amount of time for “school related” online time and for “social related” online time and educate them to spend it wisely because when it’s over, devices are gone for the day.
Know What Your Kids Are Looking At: Even with limiting a kid’s time online, it’s essential to know what they are looking at while they are online. Don’t be afraid to go to their browsing history. Be vigilant about the sites they search. Even if they end up on something inappropriate by mistake, sit them down and explain why that is not allowed and what the consequences will be if you find they have returned to sites that are off limits. By setting strict guidelines and letting your child know you will be enforcing them, they are more likely to stay on point with their online time. Do you know what website your kids are heading to after Facebook?
Say No to Unknown Passwords: This is pretty much a given but I’m always amazed by parents asking their kids for unknown passwords. Let me say this clearly…if your child has a password protected device and you don’t have the password, you’re on dangerous ground. After all, it they are feeling the need to hide passwords from you, chances are there are things on their devices that they know you would not approve of.
Create a Written Contract: While all the rules above are great, verbal agreements leave quite a bit to be desired. Not surprisingly, 79 percent of families have technology agreements with their children. Shockingly, only about 6 percent of those agreements are written out. When it comes to your child’s time spent online, rules need to be clear and they need to be written out so that there is no grey area and no room for (teenage) interpretation. Thankfully, LifeLock knows that managing kids and their time online can be a challenge so they have partnered with the National PTA to help give parents the tools they need to talk to their children about online rules and make a complex discussion easier.
Through an amazing new free resource for families, you can now have a clear, guided conversation with your child about technology and even print out rules together. This resource walks you through every aspect of your child’s online life and sets boundaries and lays out rules.