Talking To Your Child About Smartphone Monitoring
While many children may view getting their first smartphones as a rite of passage in this digital era, you need to remember that your kids might not always make the best of decisions with technology since they are still developing physically, cognitively, and emotionally.
That’s where you come in as a parent. You need to monitor your children’s behaviour online to keep them safe from the many dangers on the World Wide Web. So discussing smartphone monitoring is a must. But how, exactly, do you start a two-way dialogue on this topic when your children are more likely to want to keep you out of their digital lives? Here’s how to go about it.
- Discuss Digital Safety
While your children might know about online predators, don’t assume that they have a full grasp about the extent of the problem. This is particularly the case when it comes to the following:
- Talking to strangers
Ensure that they understand what steps they need to take to remain safe online, how to deal with any issues they might encounter, and why monitoring is important to keep them safe.
- Phone as a Privilege
If you’re the one buying the smartphones and footing the bill for your children, then you need to hammer home the fact that access to the phones is a privilege not a right. And the privilege comes with obligations. Let them realize that monitoring is actually a test of maturity — not a punishment.
- Discuss Privacy and Trust
Your children will naturally view monitoring as an invasion of their privacy as well as a lack of trust. However, you need to explain to them that monitoring, in the context of the dangers online, is really a protection measure. Ensure that they understand that it’s the bad people online whom you don’t trust — not your children.
- Listen to Their Views
While you can’t give into their resistance, you should make the conversation a two-way street. So listen to their points of view, but ensure that they understand why monitoring is a must.
- Draft a Smartphone Contract
Before handing your children smartphones, draft up smartphone contracts that clearly set out expectations as per, among other things, school performance and screen-free time. Remember, the smartphone is a privilege, not a right, so let your children know that they must get good grades to maintain access. As well, be sure to schedule time for screen-free family fun. This can involve going to the beach, baking a cake, or spending time in the great outdoors on a camping trip.
- Teaching Tool
Use monitoring as a teaching tool to demonstrate healthy ways to interact with technology. This should involve ongoing dialogue about what they’re doing online — and practice what you preach.
Smartphone monitoring is important as you seek to keep your children safe from the many dangers that lurk online. Remember that as the parent you can’t let the tail wag the dog. So while you should give your children the opportunity to express their views on monitoring, ensure that they know that monitoring is a non-optional necessity for their well-being.