This is a collaborative post. In the age of the internet, parenting can be pretty tricky when trying to keep your kids happy and safe when online. Not only are the headlines full of the dangers of cyberbullying and predators, there are also issues around identity theft and internet addiction to take into account too.
Although these technologies can be dangerous, fostering an environment of responsible internet usage can help your family have a lifelong healthy relationship with the computer. Indeed, utilising a little strategy and making certain choices, you can harness the power of the internet to strengthen family relationships.
Parents should endeavour to use similar technology as their children, so they can understand how their kids are using the internet. This also allows you to educate them on the common pitfalls when it comes to using the internet.
So how can you use it to help strengthen those family bonds? Listed below are 4 ways you can start using the internet with the family today.
Understanding the internet – you AND your kids
It’s always worth teaching your kids how the internet works really early on in their life. For example, broadband speeds are important because the faster your internet is, the more you can do online. You’ve got to getahead of your kids so that you are always one STEP ahead of them, and their online life.
When starting to explore the internet with them, all those MPSs (!) can get confusing, so it’s worth understanding what those numbers mean when you are comparing broadband packages.
For example, Netflix streaming required a minimum of 3Mbps, while for Amazon Prime you will need 3.5Mbps. Other services such as Spotify need a minimum of 1Mbps, and YouTube needs 2.5Mbps. Using examples like these will help your kids understand speeds a little better.
Once you’ve got them through the basics, it is time to teach them a little bit about online safety; the principles are the same as stranger danger. You just need to translate that into the online world.
Utilise the internet to help with school work to make it fun
In today’s world, it’s likely that your kids are using technology in the classroom. It’s likely that the teacher teaches off a laptop, and your kid might even have a tablet, so when they get home you should continue using the internet to help them get their homework finished and complete any assignments.
There are plenty of resources out there that you can use to help your kids with their homework, but it’s always worth doing some due diligence to make sure that any source you use is legit. In any case, you’ve probably forgotten a lot of the algebra you learned in school, so it’s a good opportunity for you to brush up on it too!
Staying in touch with friends and family
You should be taking advantage of all the apps out there that can help you stay in touch with the family. You can use apps like Skype and Whatsapp, but you could also set up a family Discord group to stay in touch – any kid who plays Fortnite will be familiar with this.
And when your kids get old enough to have their own social media profile, you can get them involved in things like Facebook messenger. The great thing about this is that you can curate their friend lists and encourage your wider family to add them, sharing photos and family updates with them.
Teaching your kids internet etiquette
It’s a good lesson to teach your kids that manners are important, even in the digital world. You should be teaching them that anything they say online could very well follow them around for the rest of the lives, and that they shouldn’t say anything to anyone online that they wouldn’t say to them face to face.
You should also check in with their school to see if they have any resources to help teach them these lessons. Many schools have lessons and qualifications to help get your kids up to digital speed.
You could also be teaching your kids how to spot fake profiles and phishing tactics that are commonly used online. Teaching them how to interact with people on the internet will keep them safe, but you can also be taking other precautions – knowing their usernames and passwords, as well as checking what they download.
You can’t escape the internet; so don’t try
Just like the fridge, the car, or the mobile phone, the internet is simply an integral part of modern life that you and your family will need to familiarise yourself with. At the end of the day, you should treat the internet how you teach your children to treat cycling on the street – you wouldn’t let them cycle on a road without teaching them the rules of the road, and how to cycle competently and safely. When used respectfully, the internet provides many benefits to the family unit.
However you spin it, the internet just IS now, and we have to deal with it, so making it less daunting is a necessity. We’ve got an online guide you can look at too, for more information. And what about our ultimate screen time for kids resource, so that you know what to do about managing that as well?
If we don’t have it, it isn’t worth knowing 🤣! We hope that you like the advice we have given you today. If you do, then sign up to our weekly newsletter for more.
We always love having you with us, until next time…