(NAPSI)—The holiday season conjures images and feelings of warmth, comfort, and joy. In many families with children, however, parents worry about the amount of time their kids will spend online during time off from school—but there are ways to address those concerns.
The same concerns occur to many parents as they look at their kids, eyes glued to their screens: “What exactly are they doing? Are they safe? Am I supervising them enough?”
“These are questions many parents ask, particularly during the holidays when the kids are home from school and have more time on their hands,” said Tami Bhaumik, Vice President for Civility at Roblox. “Understandably, there are a lot of parents who just aren’t as familiar with the online world as their children are. They want their kids to have fun online, but they also want them to be safe.”
According to Bhaumik, there are simple things that parents can do to help keep their kids safe and to empower them by building digital literacy skills that will support them for the long term.
“Parents want to gain a better understanding about their children’s online experience, but many aren’t sure where to start or what information to trust,” said Dr. Michael Rich, founder and director of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Digital Wellness Lab (who worked with Bhaumik and Roblox, along with 100 global safety experts, researchers, and clinicians to author the white paper “Creating a Positive Foundation for Greater Civility Online Spaces”).
The good news, according to Bhaumik and Rich, is that parents are not alone and there are a number of things parents can do to create an enriching, healthy online experience for their kids.
What You Can Do
Open Communication: Foster an open and non-judgmental line of communication with your children from a young age. Encourage them to share their online experiences, friends, and concerns with you.
Stay Informed: Check out the latest online trends, apps, and games. Understanding the digital landscape will help you guide your children effectively.
Set Clear Boundaries: Involve your kids in setting the rules for screen time, appropriate content, and their online behavior. Partnering with your children to set the rules can reduce friction.
Use Parental Controls: Implement parental control settings on devices and apps to customize protections around access to age-appropriate content, privacy protections, and spending limits.
Explore Together: Engage in your children’s online activities. Play video games with them, explore educational apps, and understand their social media platforms. This shared experience can strengthen your bond and allow you to guide them effectively.
Balance Screen Time: Recognize that not all screen time is bad. Ask your children which online experiences make them feel happy or connected and make a plan together that encourages this meaningful screen time in balance with other activities.
Be A Good Role Model: Not using your devices at the dinner table, putting your phone down when speaking with your children, and not taking your phone to bed are great ways to demonstrate healthy use of tech.
In addition to these recommendations, Bhaumik counseled, “Helping your child navigate the online world is an ongoing process of positive reinforcement of healthy habits. By staying involved, informed, and supportive, you can help your kids develop a healthy relationship with the digital world and set them up for a positive future.”
“Digital experiences present a ripe opportunity to engage with your kids,” said Rich. “Kids love to share things and to teach adults. If it’s something they can share with their parents, it makes the experience even more enriching, which would be an extra gift for everyone.”
For further civility, visit digitalwellnesslab.org.