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Making sure our kids stay safe in the modern age

Posted by Jennifer Birch on 10 February 2015

Thrive Parenting would like to thank Jennifer Birch for writing this article for us! We hope that you find it useful.

Our kids are growing up in a startling time one that sadly, their parents may not be completely familiar with. Every day, kids are discovering new ways to connect and new platforms through which they can experience the world around them. It's harrowing to think that nowadays, they can use their phones to send messages and pictures that nobody will ever trace, affording them privacy that generations before them could only have dreamed of, while making it all the more difficult for parents to keep an eye on them.

How much time do your kids really spend on their phones?

Recent studies have shown that adults now spend more time on their phones than they do watching TV, and things may have come full circle for us. With too much gadget usage said to cause everything from delayed cognitive development and dulled reflexes, we now worry that our kids are spending too much time on their phones, just as our parents worried that we were spending too much time watching TV when we were younger.

But all this time spent on their gadgets on the internet can have more dire consequences, affecting even the psychological development of the child. With so much information available on the internet, it's easy to access things that aren't meant for younger audiences, and the veil of anonymity afforded to those on the internet puts our kids at risk of cyber-bullying. Luckily, there are some small things you can do to make sure that your children remain healthy and happy, even while living in an age dominated by gadgets.

Find Better Role Models

On TV and on Youtube, we see pop icons becoming less and less "family-friendly", and our children are exposed to these every single day as well. The best way to counter the negative effects of these icons is to talk to your child about their role models. Talk to them about what a role model should be, and help them find better role models. In recent years, we've seen some great names break the mold and emerge with truly remarkable characters, which your kids could turn to for inspiration. Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model might be a good start, an award-winning show that's captured the hearts of parents everywhere. The show features a "modern heroine", which Tootsa MacGinty describes is "not the over-sexualised-material-disney-girl that seems to have become the norm, but someone who would inspire our younger female generation". Find alternatives like these to counterbalance the people your children encounter on the internet.

Establish a Schedule

Kids work best when given explicit instructions, and while they may be opposed to it, implementing a set window of time when they're allowed to use their gadgets can be extremely helpful. The world's leading tech CEOs actually ban their kids from using gadgets altogether, recognizing how difficult it is to manage and how distracting it can be. But if you've already allowed your kids to use smartphones and other gadgets before, simply sit down with the kids and talk about the possible schedules you can implement. There are many apps that you can use to help get your kids to stick to a schedule, like the revolutionary DinnerTime App, which lets you control your kids' devices remotely, instructing them when it's time for bed (or some other activity) and locking the phone so that they know they need to stop. What's really important is that you both come to an agreement when setting the schedule.

Have you ever struggled with your kids spending too much time on their devices? What methods did you put in place to make sure that they stay safe while having fun on their mobile devices? Let us know!

Exclusively submitted by JenBirch to Thrive Parenting!

Author:Jennifer BirchConnect via:Twitter
Tags:activities for kidssymptomstechnology and kidsinternet safety