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The Dos and Don’ts of Interacting Online 

 

Growing up today in the digital age looks a little bit different from the more analog ’80s and ’90s most of us experienced.

Kids have access to incredible technology that can open up the entire world, connecting them with family and friends and providing countless hours of entertainment. 

But like any tool, it’s important to learn how to use it safely and effectively. Teaching your family about online safety, how to interact with respect and kindness when online, and why you should always be careful have all become critical life lessons as kids grow and mature. Here are three things you can do to help your kids develop into extraordinary digital citizens.  

 

Talk openly and often about what they do on the internet 

You probably know that your kid’s phone seems glued to their hand, but do you know what it is they spend so much time doing on it?  

Try to get engaged and inquire often about their favorite games, their most-used apps, and what they enjoy doing online. You can also find out how they feel about scary subjects—ask them if they know anyone who’s been cyberbullied, or what they’d do if an adult asked to chat with them on Fortnite.  

Listen without judgment and try to see things from their point of view so you can learn what their world is like. The more comfortable they feel talking with you about important things, the more likely they are to turn to you if they need help with something they’ve experienced on the internet.  

 

Reinforce the idea that nothing is private online 

Your child may think that the person they’re sending messages to would never do anything inappropriate with them—and they probably wouldn’t. But what’s completely unpredictable is who might be able to access the other person’s device and what it contains.  

There are also all kinds of ways that online activities can be recorded and stored forever. This applies even to apps with disappearing messages like Snapchat and Instagram. People can take screenshots of their messages or photos, and from there they can do anything they want with them, including share them without your child’s consent.  

 

Monitor their activities for safety—and accountability 

Despite ongoing conversations and enlightening discussions, kids may not always understand how their actions may affect others or realize how serious some situations are. Bark’s award-winning technology monitors your child’s devices—including iPhones, iPods, iPads, Androids, Amazon Fire devices, and Chromebooks—as well as 30-plus of the most popular apps and social media platforms for issues like cyberbullying, online predators, suicidal ideation, and more. Bark sends you timely alerts along with recommendations to address the issue with your child, helping them to not only stay safe, but learn how their actions affect them and others online.  

 

Raising kids today isn’t simpleand it certainly doesn’t come with an instruction book. But we hope this article has given you some ideas on how to connect with your kids when it comes to helping them develop into kind, respectful digital citizens.  

 

By // Titiana Jordan 

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