Positive Online Parenting

I have become bored and somewhat annoyed by the ongoing discussion around online security and screen time management. Why? Because most of it rhetoric revolves around scare mongering, sensationalizing the statistics and a never ending loop of just talking. Sure, I understand that it helps to talk about things but when will the procrastination end?

Unfortunately procrastination seems to suit most parents when it comes to the topic of online security and screen time management, driven by excuses such as I am not good with technology and I don’t have the time or inclination to search out the right solution that will work across multiples devices. Furthermore, I don’t like the tone of this article and my kids will most likely be able to circumvent anything that I do, so what’s the point in doing anything. Da de da dee daa . . . .

Does this sound like you and if so, then you need to do something now and it shouldn’t be any half hearted attempt. Get focused, consistent and do it now!

Should you choose to remain in denial or with your head permanently in the sand then you run the risk of:

  1. Increasing the potential for online bullies and nasty children to torture your child on social media. And you may be unable to do anything about it because your child may stay connected despite the pain.
  2. Creating a situation where your child may only interact with others in the digital realm 24/7. And you may not want to do anything about it because you are already fed-up with arguing with your child every day.
  3. Not learning the lesson from the old adage “hope for the best but prepare for the worst”.

To avoid these potential problems you must:

  1. Take administrative control of every device that your child receives
    Taking control of devices from an early age will give you options if things go wrong and normalise your interventions as they grow.
  2. Ensure that your family network is protected by a good multipurpose antivirus app
    Multipurpose antivirus software should be installed on all devices (desktops and mobile/cell phones) within the family network because they can circumvent phishing attacks, filter undesirable web content, password protect specific apps and lock devices.
  3. Utilise a screen time management app on all devices
    Being able to control screen time is useful for encouraging non device related activities and the competition of daily tasks, such as homework and jobs around the house. In addition, screen time management is useful for reducing passive binging on social media that eats into family time, whilst potentially reducing information overload and loneliness.
  4. Explain to your child how parental controls will work and why they have been implemented
    Remember to take into account your child's feedback.
  5. Keep parental controls simple and easy to manage
    Keep things simple by focusing on the basics and utilising only a couple of parental control apps. As we all know there are lots of other things that will eat away at our available time within a family environment.

Procrastination isn’t an option and you need to make an effort when it come to online security and screen time management. I say again “hope for the best but prepare for the worst”.

If you want to learn more then visit the Learning Section, which is a totally free resource full of useful information.