October 16-22 is Digital Citizenship Week. This is a week to teach children to be good digital citizens by focusing on their online reputations, dealing with issues such as cyberbullying and conducting themselves safely online. Here are some helpful tips that can help you and your family manage the media that is present in our lives.
It’s important to talk to children about expectations for social media and online behavior. These Family Media Agreements are a great way to start the conversation and share expectations.
Time Away from the Screen is Important
Technology use is important for learning and fun for students, but it is also important to put devices away and have undistracted face-to-face time as a family. Try out the #devicefreedinner challenge and commit to spending 30 minutes a night putting the devices away and eating as a family. Research has shown that uninterrupted family dinner time leads to fewer behavioral issues, healthier eating and higher academic achievment. You can sign up for the #devicefreedinner challenge here.
Managing your Digital Footprint
Did you know that over 40% of college admissions officers look at a prospective student’s online profile as part of the admissions decision? Help your child understand that everything they post online builds their “digital footprint” and sends a message about who they are. Think before you post!
They’re not just Using Facebook
The average age of Facebook users today is 38-41. Are you familiar with the social media sites your child is using? Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram are just a few that are popular. Talk to your children about their social media accounts, ask to see their timelines or make your own account and follow them. Monitor your child’s social media presence so you can help them make great decisions about what they post online.
Almost ⅓ of teens have experienced some kind of online harassment. Talk to your children about being nice online. The same rules apply offline as they do online. A good rule of thumb to share is: if you wouldn’t say it to their face; don’t say it online. Also, if a student is feeling harassed online, make sure they screenshot the harassing information and tell a parent immediately.
Control Your Media
One way to help your child make good decisions online is to keep media in a central location at home. Computers and gaming systems should be set up in family areas like the living room so that it’s easy to monitor online activity. It’s also a good practice to set a device “sleep time” and set guidelines for when devices such as cell phones and tablets must be turned off for the night and placed in a monitored location.