TTYL: 4 Tips For Helping Kids and Teens to Be CyberSmart

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Technology can be an amazing resource for kids and teens, however it can also open the door for unsafe online practices. Read how my sponsors at CyberSmart created by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America can help you teach your child, tween or teen to be safe online.

Summertime is here, and I’ll admit that my kids have been using mobile devices a little more then usual. Even my young children are already very savvy when it comes to using our mobile devices, laptop and internet. My 7 year old son is constantly doing things on those devices that I have no idea how to do myself.

While technology can be an amazing and exciting way to broaden the world of children, Tweens and Teens it can also open the door to unsafe online practices such as cyberbullying , mobile device safety, online privacy and personal data sharing, especially on social networks. Because it’s never too early or late to talk to your kids about these topics I have put together 4 tips so that you don’t have to wait to TTYL about being CyberSmart

Tips to Help Your Kids be CyberSmart
T (Talk): Start an open dialogue with your child about what they do online. Ask them about their favorite things to do online, and what social medias they are a part of. Continue these conversations often, always being open and understanding so that your kids are comfortable enough to talk to you.

T (Teach): Teach your children Tweens and Teens about the risks, dangers and long-reaching effects of unsafe online practices. Let teens know that sharing questionable posts and photos (even with someone they feel they can trust) can haunt them for years to come. Talk to Tweens about cyber bullying and why it can be hurtful to others as well as what to do if they are being bullied. Teach young children what information is not ok to share online without asking a parent first (such as full name, address, phone number or age). Whatever the issue is that you think is relevant to your child, don’t assume that they already understand the risks until you teach them. As you are teaching your children be sure to let them know that you are always available to talk if they have any questions or issues that they are unsure or upset about.

Y (YOU are the boss): You as a parent have the right and responsibility to set rules, limits and consequences for your child’s online behavior. Let them know up front what those limits and consequences are, and be sure to enforce them as needed. Just knowing that you will be monitoring their online behavior may make them think twice before posting.

L (Learn): Be a CyberSmart parent by learning all that you can about online safety and risks. As technology can sometimes move faster then us parents do, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America has created a fantastic resource to help parents, CyberSmart. This website offers tons of practical advice for parents including a glossary (to help parents decode popular online lingo), ideas on how to deal with specific online situations, and a quiz to see if you are a CyberSmart parent. I took the quiz, and just answering the questions themselves got me thinking of ways that I need to improve to be a CyberSmart parent. The website also has links to additional websites for age-appropriate resources, for teaching children as young as 5 years old all the way through the teen years. If you need specific advice on how to handle a situation with your child, ask the “Cyber Tribe,” a group of teen experts on the CyberSmart website, who are ready to answer your questions from a teen’s perspective. Plus, if you ask the Cyber Tribe a question you are automatically enter to win an IPad mini and $500 to donate to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America group of your choice.

With a little help from CyberSmart, you can be a savvy online parent who doesn’t wait to TTYL when it comes to online safety!

About the author

Emily Buys

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