It might seem early for elementary school, but believe it or not, it is time to start thinking about having a talk with your child about mobile phone use and internet etiquette. The following article is adapted from Time for the Talk: Mobile Phone Use and Online Etiquette, by Valerie Vargas, Our Children, Vol 38, No. 3, National PTA.
One in five children ages 8-14 report receiving a bullying or mean text message.–AT&T Mobile Safety Study
As parents, we tend to agonize about the “talks”–the birds and the bees, stranger danger, and say no to drugs. But a recent study reinforces the importance of another conversation we need to have–appropriate mobile phone use and online etiquette.
Surprisingly, ninety percent of children, ages 8-17, agree that it is okay for parents to set rules for the use of mobile phones and technology; conversely, far fewer (sixty-six percent) say their parents have actually set such rules.–AT&T Mobile Safety Study
It is clear that kids are comfortable with rules and parents have an opportunity for the mobile phone “talk”.
How to Start the Conversation
- Establish Limits. Set clear time or texting limits and time-of-day restrictions so children know when it is appropriate to use mobile phones and technology.
- Impart Your Values. Let your children know that cheating, lying, and being cruel online are not acceptable under any circumstances. Help them stand up to peer pressure, particularly if they are being pressured to bully someone online, to stop the cycle of bullying.
- Pay Attention: Know where your children go online and what they’re doing there. Research the websites your kids visit, the songs and other content they download, and the people they invite into their lives via social media. Stay tuned into how and why they are using technology.
- Encourage Balance: Support their interest in offline activities that don’e require a gadget or mobile device.
- Model Good Behavior. Never text while driving. Your children are watching. Turn off your mobile phones and electronic devices during dinner or while participating in family activities to make connecting with each other your top priority.
- Parents’ Guide to Kids and Cell Phones | Common Sense MediaTen Tips for Kids
- Cell Phone Safety | Safetyweb Blog
- Setting Appropriate Cell Phone Boundaries | ParentFurther