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Digital Citizenship

Supporting your Child in the Age of Social Media and Online Technology

In today's digitally connected world, children are growing up with unprecedented access to social media and online technology. While these tools offer immense opportunities for learning, creativity, and social interaction, they also come with potential risks and challenges. As responsible parents, guiding our children to become responsible digital citizens is crucial. Here are some helpful tips on how parents can support their children in navigating the digital landscape safely and responsibly.

1. Open Communication and Education

Maintaining open and ongoing communication is one of the most critical steps in supporting your child's digital journey. Start early by discussing the importance of responsible online behavior and the potential consequences of inappropriate actions. Encourage questions and be willing to listen and learn together. Online safety is a shared responsibility, and educating both yourself and your child about the digital world is key.

2. Set Clear Boundaries

Establishing clear guidelines and boundaries for screen time and device usage is essential. Ensure that your child understands the rules and consequences related to their online activities. Age-appropriate restrictions can help strike a balance between screen time and other essential activities like homework, physical exercise, and face-to-face social interaction.

3. Be an Online Role Model

Children often mimic their parents' behavior, including how they engage with technology. Demonstrate responsible online behavior by setting a positive example. Show them how to use technology as a tool for learning, communication, and entertainment while maintaining respect for privacy and ethical standards.

4. Monitor and Guide

Regularly monitor your child's online activities while respecting their privacy. Familiarize yourself with the platforms and apps they use, and encourage them to share their experiences with you. Guide them on how to spot and handle cyberbullying, inappropriate content, and potential online threats. Additionally, consider using parental control software to help keep tabs on their online behavior.

5. Promote Critical Thinking and Digital Literacy

Teach your child critical thinking skills when it comes to online information. Encourage them to question the credibility of sources, recognize misinformation, and think critically about the content they encounter. Help them develop a strong sense of digital literacy to distinguish between trustworthy and untrustworthy information.

Resources:

Parent Monitoring Support Guide
Common Sense Media: Kids & Tech How Much is Too Much?
Common Sense Media: Tips by Text 
Family Tech Planner Ages 2-8
Family Tech Planner Ages 9-12
Family Tech Planner Ages 13+