Most of what I’ve presented in the previous articles are about management and control, but as kids get older, the issue of safety become’s their responsibility so we need to make sure we’re giving them the tools that they need to make good choices. What they need from us becomes fewer rules and punishments, and more discussions about what the right choice should be, and why.
Make check-ins a regular rythm
Our kids would like to convince us that their devices belong to them, and that any attempt to monitor their activity is a violation of their basic human rights. As a parent, you are the owner of the device, and you are ultimately responsible for how it is used. If you can establish this idea early and reiterate it often, it will make reviewing the device activity normal, collaborative, and will allow you to catch habits before they become established.
Start the conversation before there’s a problem
The reality is, you’re not going to be able to keep your kids safe forever. At some point they’ll or hear something that violates their innocence. It’s called growing up, and they need to know how to process the world around them. You can guide that process simply by asking questions.
- Do you have any friends at school that talk about porn/drugs/violence?
- Have you ever come across anything online that was innapropriate? What did you do?
- Have you ever said mean things to a freind online, or via text? Has anyone ever said anything like that to you?
You may have just watched a TV show or movie that had something inappropriate in it. Follow up immediately and process what you saw.
- How did you feel when you saw those teenagers having sex?
- How would you describe the way that the kids treated adults in that show?
- Did you notice how the husband and wife interacted?