Between television, tablets and smartphones, today’s kids are inundated with technology and screen time. Common Sense Media reports that three-fourths of children ages eight and under have access to a mobile device and consume about three hours of screen time every day. As a mom, you understandably have concerns regarding your kid’s technology use, so make sure to ask the following questions before handing your child a screen:
How much screen time is too much?
CNN reports that 40 percent of babies under age 2 have used a mobile phone, but there may be a danger in starting this kind of habit so young. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under age 2 should not be exposed to any screen time and older children should limit their use to only a couple hours a day. The increased use of technology has a correlation to obesity, sleep issues, school conflicts and aggression. Therefore, you should place limits on your kid’s usage to make certain they make time to play, read and do non-virtual activities.
Do you have any parental controls on?
Only 47 percent of parents are aware of what their children are doing online, reports McAfee. If you’re not aware, there is a possibility that your child might be exposed to content that is not age appropriate. To help combat this problem, enforce parental controls from an early age. The iPad Air 2 uses a fingerprint sensor as a safety measure for toddlers, and you can set up blocks for your older children, so they can’t access certain websites.
Do you know his or her favorite websites?
You should discuss what websites you child is visiting because this can help you take preventative measures for his or her safety. Talk about which sites are acceptable and which are prohibited, and periodically peruse your kid’s Internet history to determine if he or she is being honest about the websites he or she is visiting.
Is your child on social media?
Common Sense Media reports that 90 percent of kids ages 13 to 17 belong to some social media network. If your child uses social media, have a discussion regarding his or her account and about the possible perils of putting inappropriate pictures up or exchanging personal information with people he or she doesn’t know.
Does your kid frequent chat rooms?
There is an inherent danger for kids who enter the world of chat rooms. NBC news reports that one in seven kids receive sexual solicitations online. And, sometimes strangers ask personal questions about where kids live and their ages. Even though kid-friendly chat rooms have warnings not to post anything vulgar, these lines are often crossed. There is also a danger that adults might be posing as a kid to befriend either your son and daughter, so you need to be aware of who your child talks to and what he or she is chatting about.
Have you discussed cyberbullying?
According to McAfee, 87 percent of teens are cyberbullied. Given the frequency, you shouldhave a conversation with your kid about what it is, how to prevent it and how to stop it.
Do you have access to your child’s accounts?
As a mom, you need to let your child know that you have access to his or her accounts. Children are 35 times more likely to get targeted for identity theft than adults, according to AllClear ID, and you don’t want to notice too late if your child’s identity has been stolen. Having access to your kid’s passwords and accounts can help ease some of the fears of this happening to you and your family.
Monitoring your kid’s history also can provide clues on any dangerous activities. If you notice a change in behavior, it might be a good idea to check who they are interacting with online.
Growing technology can offer benefits to your child, but it needs to be monitored and used in moderation. Take charge and arm yourself with the questions and tools you need to protect your children.