Chances are you've come across questionable content online. Maybe you've had an argument or made a bad decision influenced by the internet. How do you shield your children from the more destructive elements of modern digital life? Learn what other moms worry about and how you can protect your kids.
Fear 1: Being exposed to inappropriate content
When we surveyed real moms, 45 percent were concerned about children being exposed to inappropriate content. With pornography more and more accessible, this is a legitimate fear. Even seemingly innocent content, such as video game walkthroughs, can be littered with profanity. How do parents shield kids? The truth is, they cannot completely protect them. Be wise and use a combination of parental supervision and parental controls. However, be prepared to have serious talks with your kids about issues they may be exposed to.
Fear 2: Decreased physical activity
If your child is tucked in front of the screen playing Minecraft for hours, how will he get enough exercise? In this age of childhood obesity and digital living, it's a valid concern. Twenty-one percent of respondents were most concerned about decreased physical activity. To combat this issue, limit the time your children are allowed to play online. Enroll them in sports and other physical activities and encourage balance in all things. Recreational computer time should be a reward, not a given.
Fear 3: Decreased face-to-face interaction with peers
Out of the parents we surveyed, 19 percent worried about kids spending more time with online friends than real life friends. While this may be concerning, keep in mind that kids often use the internet to talk to the same friends they see at school and during social activities. As long as your child is spending time with friends, try not to be concerned that she'll become sucked into an online life. With this in mind, keep an open dialogue with your children about who they're talking to. Be aware that not everyone is telling the truth online. Your children should not be developing serious friendships or relationships with people who only communicate under an online handle.
Fear 4: Revealing too much private information
Is your child on Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter? If so, what measures are you taking to prevent your child from revealing personal information? Fifteen percent of survey respondents worry about kids oversharing online. Your children should never make strangers or the general public aware of information such as full names, addresses, phone numbers, school locations or other identifying facts. Before your child is allowed access to social networking sites, have a serious talk about limitations and safety. Be sure that your child understands that a seemingly innocent tweet or status update can reveal dangerous information. Every interaction should be thoughtful.