3 Ways to Help Keep your Kid Safe with Technology

Youth in South Carolina today are growing up in a high-tech world with devices that are constantly growing and evolving. A study conducted by the Pew research Center showed that “around 30 percent of parents with children under the age of 11 in March 2020 already said that their kids were spending too much time playing video games or using a smartphone. When the same parents were asked again in April 2021 though, this had increased to 51 and 42 percent.” As a parent, it is important to keep up with these technologies and ensure that your are establishing appropriate guidelines.

American Psychological Association (APA) provides excellent guidance on this topic.

1. Model healthy tech habits as caregiver.

Children often learn by example, so it's important for parents to model healthy technology habits. Show them how to use technology responsibly and demonstrate the importance of balancing screen time with other activities like outdoor play, reading or family interactions. Avoid being constantly glued to your own devices and engage in tech-free quality time with your child.

2.Encourage open communication and education.

Talk to your child about the potential risks and benefits of technology. Explain the importance of responsible internet and social media use. Encourage them to come to you with any concerns or questions they may have about their online experiences. Educating them about online privacy, cyberbullying and the permanence of digital footprints can help them make informed decisions.

3. Set clear rules and boundaries.

Establish rules and boundaries for technology use. Limit screen time, especially before bedtime, to ensure your child gets enough sleep. According to a study condcuted by JAMA Pediatrics, “Having anywhere from one to four hours of screen time per day at age 1 is linked with higher risks of developmental delays in communication, fine motor, problem-solving and personal and social skills by age 2”. Encourage them to use technology in common areas of the house rather than in their bedroom, as this can help you monitor their activities. Consider using parental control software to filter content and set time restrictions. A study conducted by AAP “calls for no screen time at all for children until 18 to 24 months and says kids ages 2 to 5 should get an hour or less of screen time per day.” Make sure your child understands the consequences of violating these rules.

By following these guidelines, you can help ensure that your child has a safe and balanced relationship with technology while also promoting responsible digital citizenship.


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