Just as we take care of our kids in real life, it’s also important to take care of them online.
Daily life for most of us looks radically different than it did last year. Virtual classrooms, working from home, telehealth calls, limited social gatherings, and other public safety precautions are now part of our routines to help stop the spread of COVID-19 across our country.
With so many aspects of our daily lives now conducted digitally, it’s more important than ever to do so in a way that’s safe, kind, and inclusive.
In February, we celebrated Safer Internet Day, an international education and awareness-raising effort to promote safer and more responsible use of digital devices and online technology, especially for children and youth. As we continue to rely heavily on technology, this is the perfect time for families to evaluate their online habits and do a refresh of online safety tips and best practices.
Just as we tell our children to look both ways before crossing the street, it is just as important to talk to them about being responsible and safe in the digital world. National PTA encourages families to follow the “Three T’s” of online safety: Talk, Try, Teach.
Talk, try, teach
- Talk to your kids about the apps they use and the games they play online. National PTA developed The Smart Talk — a free, fun, interactive tool — to help families navigate things like how to determine who should follow your child’s account, when to share content online, and how to respond to negative comments.
- Try apps and games together. Quality conversations stem from mutual understanding, so it’s important for parents to know and experience their kids’ favorite apps and online games.
- Teach your kids about security and privacy settings available in-app.
It’s also important to review your personal example and to monitor and model your own technology use. Kids follow what adults do, and they benefit greatly when expectations and good digital habits are modeled for them.
Learning about online safety together and having proactive and open conversations with our kids will help keep them safe; build good digital habits; and create a kinder, more inclusive online community for everyone.
For more tips and resources to help your family take charge of your digital life, visit PTA.org/Connected.