BECKLEY — Daily life and how kids interact online continues to evolve. This includes more schoolwork online, interacting with friends using mobile devices and using social media. With so many aspects of kids’ lives going digital, Internet Safety Month (June) is an important time to talk with and review expectations with your children to help them stay safe online.
In April 2021, the Pew Research Center followed up with many of the same parents it surveyed in a March 2020 study to check in on their children’s use of technology and social media during the pandemic. This second survey saw a 9 percent rise year over year with a share of parents who said their young child had used digital devices and social media.
Additionally, according to a recent UScellular survey1, parents are most likely to monitor their child’s online activities. In fact, 74 percent of parents say they speak to their children about using apps and browsing the web safely and 68 percent of parents say they talk to their children about sharing appropriate photos and videos.
“Internet Safety Month is an opportunity to have conversations with our children about digital literacy, safety, and responsibility,” said Nakeita Stewart, director of sales for UScellular in the Mid-Atlantic.
“More families rely on technology to keep their children learning, entertained, and connected to friends. With extra time during summer break from school, it’s important that children and parents have the necessary skills and resources to stay safe online.”
Here are several resources compiled from UScellular to help parents educate children about safe technology use.
Keeping children safe online. Using resources available in Google’s Digital Wellbeing Family Guide, parents can decide with their children when the appropriate time is to hand them a device of their own. By providing tools and resources for discussions about healthy digital habits and internet safety, both parents and children can gain confidence with the new device added to their family.
Knowledge is power. The more you know, the more you can play an active role in keeping your children safe online. A good place to start is talking with your child about online safety, agreeing to boundaries, and helping them select age-appropriate websites and apps. UScellular’s Digital Family Matters website is a great resource for parents and children and also provides a Parent-Child Agreement to help facilitate the discussion with children around cellphone use.
Add a router accessory. There are many devices that you can add to your home router, like Disney’s Circle Plus and accompanying app, that allows you to monitor multiple connected devices, internet usage, restrict specific websites and apps, as well as pause access to the internet with just a touch of a button.
Get advice from the experts. There are numerous sources for parents to select age-appropriate online content for children. One of these is Common Sense Media, a website that reviews apps, video games, TV/movies and books, and tells parents exactly what they need to know about each.