When you’re a parent, the rise of technology can shift from a growing convenience to a growing source of anxiety and concern. We all want to make sure our kids are being smart on their devices and that they know the importance of staying safe when it comes to technology. Here are 5 healthy parenting habits to adopt as a parent to stay on top of your teen’s tech usage.
1. Start with a conversation
Keeping the lines of communication open with your teenager when it comes to their use of digital media is crucial. Start with a real and honest conversation, making sure your teenager knows that you’re interested in what is important to them, but also that keeping them safe is your first priority for healthy technology use in your home.
2. Know your teen’s passwords
Walk the line between parenting and privacy with this one—but knowing the password to your teen’s phone and all of their social media apps is crucial. Keep in mind that giving your child privacy is important; it’s not recommended that you read every single message they send or receive, or stalk every person they follow on Instagram, but occasionally checking in to make sure that nothing seems off is a good practice. Your teen will probably hate this one, but remember that you are the adult and you pay for their phone and internet!
3. Use the same apps as your teen
If your child wants to download TikTok, you should download TikTok. If they are constantly on Instagram, you should be too. By being on these apps with them and seeing firsthand what they’re engaging in, you can gain awareness of both the positive aspects and the threats of the platforms your teen is engaging with. Plus, you might even gain some common knowledge that you can use to connect with your teen—just don’t try too hard!
4. Keep computers & phones in common areas
Screens behind closed doors are an unnecessary temptation for teenagers. When your child knows that you could walk in the room at any minute, they are much less likely to engage in risky activity on their devices. A great middle ground between parenting and privacy is to keep computers in common rooms in your home and even institute a “no phone in the bedroom” policy depending on your teen’s age and online tendencies.
5. Download Bark
One of the great perks of how far technology has come these days is that there are apps that actually help you keep your teens safe. Bark is a company dedicated to helping parents keep their kids safe online. Once the app is installed on your teen’s devices, you’ll be notified of any potentially alarming activity, including inappropriate content, mentions of self-harm, bullying, etc. Visit bark.us to learn more!
No matter what tips you put in place for your teens and technology, just being aware and continuing to seek out education and resources is a great first step to staying on top of their technology usage!
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