Dear Holmes Families,
In honor of Cyber Security Awareness for October, the Holmes Safety Committee presents part 2 of tips to keep your kids safe in the Digital Age (source: healthychildren.org).
- Treat media as you would any other environment in your child's life. Know your children's friends, both online and off. Know what platforms, software, and apps your children are using, what sites they are visiting on the web, and what they are doing online.
- Create tech-free zones. Keep family mealtimes, other family and social gatherings, and children's bedrooms screen free. Recharge devices overnight—outside your child's bedroom to help him or her avoid the temptation to use them when they should be sleeping.
- Don't use technology as an emotional pacifier. Children need to be taught how to identify and handle strong emotions, come up with activities to manage boredom, or calm down through breathing, talking about ways to solve the problem, and finding other strategies for channeling emotions.
- Apps for kids – do YOUR homework. More than 80,000 apps are labeled as educational, but little research has demonstrated their actual quality. Products pitched as "interactive" should require more than "pushing and swiping."
- Remember: Kids will be kids. Kids will make mistakes using media. Try to handle errors with empathy and turn a mistake into a teachable moment. But some indiscretions, such as bullying, or posting self-harm images, may be a red flag that hints at trouble ahead. Parents must observe carefully their children's behaviors and, if needed, enlist supportive professional help, including the family pediatrician.
And finally, Common Sense Media released a fascinating interactive report on how tech has changed childhood. Click here for the report.