Monitor your children’s digital well-being

17 Sep, 2023 - 00:09 0 Views
Monitor your children’s digital well-being Most devices and platforms offer tools to support digital well-being. These tools can set screen time limits, manage your children’s apps and websites, block or report inappropriate content or contacts, and monitor their online activity

The Sunday Mail

4IR Simplified

John Tseriwa

WE live in a digitally connected world with access to various devices.

This means we often find ourselves and our family members absorbed in our screens, from the parents to the children.

Our children, especially, need digital devices for online learning, but they also face many challenges and dangers on the internet.

The internet is a vast and unregulated space, where children can encounter inappropriate content, cyberbullying, online predators and other threats.

That is why we must be the gatekeepers of our children’s online activities and limit their time on their devices.

We must help them balance their online and offline lives, and encourage them to engage in more meaningful and enriching experiences.

This article explores the concept of digital well-being, especially for our children, and how we can help them use technology for their own good.

According to UNESCO, digital well-being is “the enhancement and improvement of human well-being, in the intermediate and long term, through digital media”.

Every parent wants their children to enjoy the benefits of technology, such as learning new skills, connecting with others and expressing themselves.

However, it is equally essential to protect them from the potential harms of technology, such as exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, online predators and addiction.

Let us discuss how we can monitor our children’s digital well-being and support them in using technology in a healthy and responsible manner.

Stop giving your children devices to keep them busy

As parents, we often have a lot of responsibilities and tasks to do, and children may sometimes demand our attention and time.

However, it is not a good idea to give them a phone or tablet just to keep them away from us.

Instead of giving your children digital devices to keep them busy, try to talk with them about what they do online.

Ask them what they learned, what they enjoyed and what they found challenging.

Social media, for example, can be a source of many dangers for our children. Some people may try to exploit, harass or manipulate them online.

Therefore, we should teach our children to protect themselves from these threats and report or block unwanted content or contacts.

We should also encourage our children to be mindful of their emotions and how they affect their actions online.

We should help them cope with negative feelings or experiences and praise them for their positive behaviours and achievements.

We should also remind them that their online persona is not their whole identity and that they have other aspects of their lives that matter.

Use digital well-being tools

Most devices and platforms offer tools to support digital well-being.

These tools can set screen time limits, manage your children’s apps and websites, block or report inappropriate content or contacts, and monitor their online activity.

Parental control apps or software can also create customised settings for each child, according to their age and needs.

Parents should consider the child’s age when they set up the control mechanisms for their online use because a one-size-fits-all approach will not  work.

However, these tools are not a substitute for parental guidance and involvement. You should always explain to your children why you use these tools and how they can help them stay safe and healthy online.

One such tool is Google Family Link, which allows parents to supervise their children’s online activities.

With this tool, parents can create Google accounts for their children, manage the apps and websites they use, set screen time limits and bedtime schedules, track their location and lock their devices remotely.

Google Family Link also provides parents with activity reports and suggestions to help children explore online activity safely and responsibly.

Set a good example

If you are always on your phone as a parent, your children will imitate that. It is crucial to model healthy behaviour and set boundaries and routines.

Our children learn from our actions more than our words. Therefore, we should demonstrate healthy digital habits, such as limiting our screen time, avoiding distractions, respecting others online and taking breaks from technology.

We should also set clear boundaries and routines for our children’s online use, such as when they can go online, where they can use their devices, how long they can stay online and what they can do online.

We should also encourage them to have other activities and hobbies that do not involve technology, such as reading books, playing games, doing sports or spending time with family and friends.

Seek help from experts

Our children may face online challenges or problems beyond our knowledge or expertise. In such cases, we should quickly seek help from other sources, such as Childline.

Teach your children to recognise signs of trouble online (for example, feeling anxious, depressed, angry or isolated); how to report or block unwanted content or contacts (for instance, using the report or block buttons); and how to reach out to someone they trust (for example, a parent, a friend or a teacher).

Stay informed

Technology is constantly changing and evolving. New apps, websites, games, features, trends and challenges emerge daily.

We should keep up with these changes and learn about the latest developments in the digital world.

We should also educate ourselves about technology’s potential risks and opportunities for our children’s wellbeing.

In conclusion, as much as technology is a powerful force for good in the world, digital well-being also reminds us that every advancement comes with a trade-off and that we must be careful and mindful of how we use it.

John Tseriwa is a tech entrepreneur and a digital transformation advocate focusing on delivering business solutions powered by 4IR technologies. He can be contacted at: [email protected] or +263773289802.


Share This: