Like it or not, the Internet is here to stay. Social media and technology have become a way of life for adults and children. It’s important to raise your children to be good and godly citizens of the physical world but also kind and responsible digital citizens.
What is digital citizenship?
According to the Digital Citizenship Institute, digital citizenship refers to the norms of developing the skills and perspective necessary to live a digital lifestyle that is safe, ethical, and responsible. A person who knows what is right and wrong, making good choices when using technology.
As parents, you can mentor your kids to learn to deliberately use technology in a responsible and ethical way. Here are 5 ways to teach them:
1. Lead by example
Your children are learning about the world by watching you – and that’s a good thing. You’ve directly influenced them by teaching them how to speak, walk, eat, etc. It’s important to be mindful of how often the phone is in your hands. Reading work emails or texting while your children are present? It can happen to anyone but seek to improve and be the ideal influence you want your child to be around.
2. Stay engaged
When your children want to surf the internet, join them! Pay attention to which websites, online communities or social media platforms they participate in. If they encounter or engage in inappropriate content, be a positive influence by reacting in a constructive manner.
3. Thinking critically?
As you browse the internet together, identify safe, credible sites. For example, a secure website will have “Secure” on the top left of the search bar. If they don’t, click the “i” to see if it’s safe to browse. Point these things out to your children and use examples of various pages or icons they should be cautious of.
4. Leaving positive footprints
Encourage your children to have online manners in treating others as they would in person. This means, not posting or sharing anything that may be hurtful or embarrassing for the others. Teach your kids to leave a positive digital footprint – this will help your child stay out of trouble with the law as well as make a good impression on friends, teachers and even future bosses.
5. Guided access
Ever tried helping your child learn through educational apps but found them switching to other apps like games? It’s hard to control because you can’t always monitor what they’re doing. However, on iPhones there’s Guided Access. This feature allows you to lock the device on one app until you (the parents) put in a code or unlock with TouchID so the kids can’t switch between apps. To enable Guided Access, simply go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Guided Access and turn it on.
Your children have a bright future ahead, as you teach them to intentionally reject the bad and deliberately choose the good available from the digital world.
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