It's not a surprise that we are living in an ever increasing connected world. When I was a child, connecting to my friends meant hopping on my bike and hoping someone would answer the door when I got there, picking up the phone and getting frustrated by the busy tone, or mailing a letter and waiting a week for a response. Nowadays, we connect with others at the speed of light, with just a touch of a button. As useful and cool as that is, as a mom I know that there are also dangers lurking in the digital world, just waiting to pounce on my children.
When we got Allison a smartphone for her 12th birthday, the phone also came with a strict set of rules. Who she could call and text, what social media channels she could use, and I was not only going to be friended on or following her accounts, but I was to have the passwords as well. We sat down and had a lengthy online safety talk, and thankfully, we haven't had many issues yet. For parents of tweens and teens, setting digital boundaries is a great way to ensure their safety in the online world. LifeLock is helping parents get the conversation started with their easy to use The Smart Talk tool.
The Smart Talk is a free online tool designed by The National PTA and LifeLock to help families set ground rules for technology use and have open, ongoing conversations about online safety and responsibility. With how quickly the digital world is moving, a child's safety and well-being can be compromised by their online behavior, and today's kids need to learn the rules of the road when it comes to navigating life online. Many parents can become overwhelmed or confused by the technology talk because they aren't even sure what topics to cover. The Smart Talk tool guides parents and children in an interactive experience, helping them explore and engage in conversation about online safety and privacy, screen time, apps and downloads, texting and calling, and social media respect.
Even though I went over my expectations of digital use with her last year, I feel it's always a good idea to revisit and update our policies every so often. I just sat down with Allison and we went through The Smart Talk together, discussing how she could manage her online time better, how she could be a little safer, and also letting her know that she can always come to us if she sees something online that makes her feel uncomfortable or experiences cyber-bullying. As we navigated through The Smart Talk tool, we were able to check off boxes on issues most important to us, striking up compromises that were agreeable to both parties. When we were finished, The Smart Talk tool organized everything into a handy little contract that we were able to print off and sign, that way we both fully understand and agree to the rules of her digital use.
As kids age and technology evolves, The Smart Talk can be revisited to help keep conversation flowing and digital policies updated. Empower your children to be smart and responsible digital citizens by visiting The Smart Talk to create your own contract today.
What are some key rules you use to ensure that your child is being responsible in the digital world?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.