Talking to your Family About Technology
The excitement of getting a new piece of technology is something that we can all relate to. Shiny new devices can herald a whole new way of interacting for you and your family and present a world of opportunities that you may never have had access to before.
Kids and parents feeling confident using technology can have fantastic benefits: from doing better at school from using educational apps to sharing photos from their school trips with you. Helping your kids use their phones sensibly helps keep them safe and can also give you peace of mind. Your input is critical, it can help your children understand the online world and the real-life implications it can have.
Getting everyone together, discussing what tech you and your kids are interested in, and then agreeing on a few rules can be a good way to get a conversation started. It can also be a good way of guaranteeing that your kids learn to take responsibility for their actions online, and also importantly, when to come to you if they have any concerns.
Dos for Parents
Do: check out the apps your children are using.
Do: sit down with your family and look at devices and apps together. This will allow you to find out what your kids are interested in and may identify any areas of concern that could arise.
Do: remain positive about the benefits technology can bring. It may be a huge part of your family’s life so it is important to embrace the positive potential it holds.
Do: have a think about whether setting boundaries or guidelines may be useful for your family. This could range from how much time your kids spend online to reducing the level of parental control when your child reaches a certain age.
Do: ask your children about what they think might make them feel uncomfortable online. Have a two-way conversation, give them scope to explore ideas on their own whilst also having your support.
Do: ensure that your children know that they can come to you with any concerns they may have, however small.
Don’ts for Parents
Don’t: instill fear in your children with horror stories. This won’t be constructive and may stop them from feeling comfortable and open.
Don’t: set a bad example. If you decide on a ‘no phones at dinner time’ rule, stick to it yourself.
Don’t: be afraid of talking to other parents and sharing tips and tricks. We’re all in this together.
Dos for Kids & Young Adults
Do: only give your number to people that you know and trust, if you are not sure check with your parent or guardian.
Do: block users if you don’t trust them or you are not happy with what they are saying to you.
Do: turn off data roaming when outside the UK on holiday. It’s easy to do this in the settings of your handset, but if you’re unsure how to do this, pop into your nearest mobile phone shop and ask.
Do: ask parents permission before making app purchases. Features including Apple’s Family Sharing, ensure that children have to ask permission from their parents before purchasing content, even if it is free. Similar parental controls are available on Android phones, allowing multiple user accounts on one device.
Do: make sure you know how to block someone, how to report a problem and how to keep information private on any app that you are using.
Do: get your friends’ permission before posting or sending pics of them.
and ALWAYS: ask a parent or guardian for advice if you are not sure about anything.
Don’ts for Kids & Young Adults
Don’t: reply to people that you don’t know.
Don’t: give out your friends’ numbers without asking them first.