Posts Tagged ‘internet safety’

We live in a technology-loving society.  We rely on our phones to get us where we need to go, keep us in touch, bank, track our exercise, entertain us and more.  Our children also rely more than ever on technology to complete homework, engage socially with peers, play games, share photos and videos. 

As parents and caregivers, we know that this increased use of technology increases the likelihood that our children will encounter inappropriate or harmful information, online bullies, or share too much private information with unwanted sources.  With an increased use of technology our children also are at increased risk of encountering inappropriate conduct, contacts, and content.

According to Assistant Professor Jim Bates of The Ohio State University, there are several steps parents can take to address these concerns with their youth and to reduce their risks:

  • The first is to start early establishing your technology and internet expectations and guidelines.  Set clear rules and guidelines about online conduct. Discuss with your children what they should do when they encounter harmful or inappropriate content online.  Be clear and firm with what your values are in regards to online interactions.
  • Second, monitor what your child is doing, seeing and experiencing online.  This is easier to do when computers, tablets, and phones are used in public places in the home.  Ask your children frequently about what sites they are visiting online and what they are doing with the time they spend on technology.
  • Finally, look for ways to encourage them to think critically and act in a way they can be proud of.  Recently a friend of my daughter received an inappropriate request from a peer. The friend’s response provided a great conversation between me and my daughter as we discussed what she would have done in a similar situation and how she felt about the request and response of her peers.

Since parents and caregivers can be a strong predictor of a child’s media habits, we can set an example by using media appropriately in our lives.  We can reduce our phone time, and avoid using phones or media during family time and meals. This will enhance interactions with our child and focus on important family routines.  Encouraging face to face contact in communication can help caregivers teach children important communication skills. Start now teaching online manners and clearly communicating expectations regarding the use of media to children of all ages. Share the lessons you have learned about social media, the internet, and youth by commenting below this message.



Research by Jim Bates, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University Extension Field Specialist, Family Wellness.


Writer: Alisha Barton, Program Coordinator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami and Champaign Counties.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.


Read Full Post »