Rethinking "Kid Proofing" for a Digital Age

Various important things have been taught to us regarding cyber safety and digital citizenship. Some of these topics include:

  • Privacy settings and passwords
  • Predators, troll and cyberbullying
  • Scams and viruses
  • and What goes online stays online

These are critical information parents should be aware to keep theirs kids protected in the online world – in a world that exposes their children to people with different beliefs, values, and ideas. Parents should know that their kids are hanging around in a world where information can be easily obtained by people who sometimes do not have their best interests at heart. In a world where there are no specific grounds for privacy and safety, children can be the most vulnerable.

Parents should be able to teach and guide their children how to protect themselves from online attackers. The good thing is, many parents are doing a good job in this. Children are able to keep themselves safe from predators as well as perverts. They are going better at keeping personal information secure. They also pay attention who is watching, listening, and talking to them online. However, there is more to existing in a digital world than just staying safe. Of course, avoiding stranger danger is not the only thing children should learn. They spend most of their time online and their socializing, entertainment, learning, and work will happen in cyberspace. Thus, parents should prepare them for the everyday challenges they will face.

There are online interactions that are not considered predatory or bullying but may still bring drama and negative impact to the mental health and wellbeing of children. They might receive offensive comments, hateful messages, and unhealthy advises. So, parents should not just focus on locking everything down to prevent the bad guys from getting in but also pay close attention to the sorts of interaction their kids are having with those around them. Parents should monitor the what their kids are doing as well as the mood when they get off their devices. Parents should be aware of the sense of self-esteem that their children have. It is not only the devices they should look after but also the activities of their kids.

Parents should also learn how to teach their children respond to negative comments, deal with hateful messages, and discern unhealthy advises. It may not be considered as bullying but it could still mess up with their kids’ heads. For instance, parents can role play actual responses to sarcasm, discuss information from a simple selfie, and talk about nonverbal cues that sometimes cause misinterpretation of meaning. Parents should discuss with their children the implications of liking or sharing something. How these activities come to be a representation of who they are and what they believe in. Parents should be able to talk about the digital footprint of their kids and the effect of putting something online.

"In a world where there are no specific grounds for privacy and safety, children can be the most vulnerable."

As the online world continue to be a trend for the millennials and the younger kids, different challenges will pop up and they should be able to deal with it. Interacting in the digital world can have sorts of implications and issues. Even though they sometimes know better than adults, children still need help with it. So, the crucial role for the parents is to ensure that the next generation continues to have a greater chance to get it right. This way, risks and negative impacts can be minimized giving them the wonderful benefits this new world has to offer.

Need More Help?

We work with many parents and families on kid proofing their internet and internet connected devices. We can help you with your specific challenges.