Think your kids are more digitally aware than you are? Chances, are you’re right. “Kids these days” are digital natives, meaning they've practically grown up with an iPod in their hands. Most parents are digital immigrants trying to feel their way around the virtual world and often feeling like they’re left in the dark. Sound familiar? If so, don’t fret. You can still impart some good old-fashioned advice that’s still very relevant in this new digital age.
Real friends are few and far between
Remember when your parents told you to hold on to good friends because the real ones are few and far between? Well, this wisdom still holds true in the world of online “friendships.” Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can quickly become virtual popularity contests. Advise your child not to become obsessed with how many friends or followers they have. Instead, encourage them to invite a “real friend” over for some face-to-face interaction. Also, let your kids know that not all of their social media friends can be trusted—yet another reason not to share too much personal information online.
Don’t talk to strangers
What’s the harm of letting your child chat with someone he doesn’t know online? As long as he’s home, he’s safe, right? Actually, no. Chatting with strangers can put your child at risk for sexual exploitation by sick online predators who pose as kids themselves to lure kids into their grasp. These predators groom kids for weeks and even months before convincing them to take a risqué picture or perform a sexual act via webcam. Then, they use the picture or video as blackmail, forcing the kids to keep complying with their twisted desires. Clearly, talking to strangers online is just as dangerous as in the real world.
If So-and-So Jumped Off a Bridge, Would You?
This tried-and-true question has been used by many a parent to warn their kids of the dangers of peer pressure. Guess what? It’s still relevant in the digital age. When your child asks if she can join in on the newest social media craze because “everyone else has an account,” don’t be afraid to resort to your “old-fashioned” wisdom. If you do grant, permission, be sure you’re using parental monitoring software to make sure she’s playing it safe online.
No matter how much you know or don’t know about the online world, remember that you’re still the parent, which means you’re in charge of what your child is doing on and offline. Fortunately, Qustodio makes it easy to monitor and manage his online behaviors, so you never feel in the dark again!