Take Control Of Tech Before It Takes Control Of Your Kids

9:43 PM 
These days, tech is in pretty much every aspect of our whole lives. I’m sure you will use it every day at work to help you get your jobs done, and you will have also incorporated technology into your home as well. There simply isn't a tech-free moment of our lives anymore, from morning, noon, and night. And this starts to beg the question - how is this going to affect our children as they grow up?

Kids are now exposed to lots of technology a lot earlier than they ever were. In actual fact, there are even apps that are now created just to be used by young children and toddlers. Some parents are perfectly happy to let their children embrace all of this tech at a very early age, whereas some parents try to restrict their kids’ use of it. As you can probably tell, then there is a very heated debate about how and when we should start to introduce technology into the little ones’ lives.

You will probably have your own views on this, especially if you already have children. However, there is no surprise that some parents are absolutely lost when it comes to tech and their children. Here are some ways you can take control of your tech before it takes control of your kids. After all, you don’t want your kids to end up playing on their video games for the entire day! 
Understand How Tech Works Yourself
Kids will pick up how technology works very easy. At their age it is very quick to pick up new skills, so figuring out apps and the internet will be a breeze for them. Unfortunately, though, this isn't the case with many parents, and they often stumble over technology and can really struggle when using it. However, you need to better equip yourself with all of the necessary knowledge of the tech that your kids are using. Learn how to use apps and devices and understand why a child would want to. That way, you can try to stay one step ahead of them. It’s also a good idea to learn about all of the coming updates for apps so that you can intercept a child’s use if an app updates to include some content that isn't age-appropriate for your child. 
Use Parental Controls
Every part of the internet and technology has parental controls, and you should use these at all times. These will protect your children from seeing anything that isn't appropriate for their age, being contacted by strangers online, and also preventing them from downloading or purchasing anything that they shouldn’t. Once these controls are in place, you will be able to let them browse the internet safe in the knowledge that they won’t be up to anything that they shouldn’t be. Even your home broadband will come with the option of parental controls, so you don’t need to set them on every individual app or website that you know your kids visit.

Suddenlink Communications is just one of the many new Internet companies that offer fantastic cyber security and internet controls that you can take advantage of. Once these controls are in place, you won’t have to supervise your kids so much while they are online, so you will have more free time to do your own things!


Control Privacy Settings
You should also control the privacy settings on any accounts or profiles that your kids set up on websites and social media. This will prevent anyone who they don’t know from contacting them and seeing the content that they post. For instance, on Facebook, you can change the settings so that no one can add you as a friend. The only way for you to grow your friends list is to add people yourself. This is a good tool for kids as it will prevent any unwanted contact from strangers. It’s also a good idea to double check their photo sharing settings to make sure that only those on their friends list can see them. Similar privacy controls are available on other websites and social media platforms.
Talk To Your Kids About The Tech They Use
You should have open and honest talks with your children about all the different types of technology that they use. Specifically, talk to them about what it means to be a digital citizen. Now that most people are online, it is important that everyone is treated respectfully while they are using the internet and interacting with other users. So, you need to instill this into your kids. Make sure that they are well-behaved when online. Not only that, though, but you should also remind your child that there is a permanency to the things that are posted online. Unless they delete their own posts, tweets, and statuses, they will remain in the public domain for a long time, potentially forever. This could impact them in later life when they are applying for jobs. If they post something unsavory or hateful online and a potential employer sees it, it could negatively affect their job application. Even if they were only very young when they posted it. So, as you can tell, this is something that your kids need to be aware of.
Explain That Social Media Isn't Real Life
Most parents restrict social media use until their children are preteens. Before this, they don’t let them join any social media platforms. When you do let your kids join, you need to remind them that what goes on on these websites isn't a real reflection of true life. When people use the likes of Facebook and Instagram, they find that it is ever so easy to become obsessed about getting as many likes as possible. They think that this reflects how much they are liked in the real world. However, that really isn't the case. Not only that, though, but you should also tell your kids that the things that other people post aren’t necessarily true to life. Just because someone keeps on posting pictures in which they look really pretty and beautiful, it doesn’t mean that they look like that all the time. They will be using a lot of makeup and Instagram filters! Plus, it’s important to tell your kids that people cherry-pick the things they post about. Just because someone looks like they have a fun and happy life online doesn’t mean that their life is necessarily like that in real life.

Check Age-Restrictions
If your kids are into gaming, they probably play their games on video consoles or using apps on mobile tablet devices. All of these games come with age restrictions and there will be a minimum age that should be playing them. You should check out these age restrictions before you let your kids play a new game. Make sure that they never play anything that is not age-appropriate for them as it could expose them to content that they shouldn’t see. For instance, there might be nudity, violence, or scenes of horror in it. Even if your child is old enough to play a game, you might want to look over the content details. There should be a description of the kind of content that players will experience. If you spot anything that you don’t want your kids to see or be exposed to, then don’t let them play it. It’s as simple as that.

Limit Screen Time

Generally speaking, it’s always a good idea to limit your children’s amount of screen time. There are a few health benefits that will come from limited screen time. For instance, it will make your kids more likely to be active as they won’t be sitting in front of a computer or TV all day! As well as this, it can greatly improve the quality of the sleep they get each night. When your kids aren’t spending quite as much time in front of screens, they will need to be creative and use their imaginations. Plus, it will prevent them from becoming addicted and reliant to tech as they grow up.

Explain Cyberbullying To Them
Unfortunately, cyber bullying is now carried out more than ever before. You internet users are the main targets, and you should educate your kids about what cyberbullying is and what they should do about it if they are ever a victim. Firstly, they need to know that they are never the ones at fault for the cyberbullying, so they shouldn’t blame themselves. They need to tell an adult what is happening straight away. If they are at home when they get nasty messages, they should inform you. If it happens at school, they will need to go straight to a teacher. Thankfully, cyberbullying is now seen as a crime, so it is worth going to your local police station and telling them about the situation. They should be able to find the bully and punish them accordingly.

Technology moves fast, and you will have to be quick to keep up with it. Hopefully, these tips will help you keep your kids safe!

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