Top tips to keep us on our technology toes: guiding and protecting our children and young people’s use of social media

What is your best strategy in protecting, guiding and regulating your child in regard to social media access and games?

Our children are increasing living in an internet saturated environment. It is so much a part of our lives that it is easy overlook that our children and young people, need parental guidance and protection, in regard to what they are exposed to and participants in.

We have had incidents in our school RECENTLY that are salutary reminders that our children are vulnerable in regard to internet access, even when you think you are protected – for example, with filters. Things do (and have) happen that cause distress and confusion to children and parents.

The following tips are directed particularly to parents of children from class 3 upward but may also be useful for families where younger children (for example siblings) have access to the internet and to social media.

  • Vigilant supervision and open discussion with children and young people. The parent has the facebook password, email and phone codes and keeps a regular check on contents. When content is inappropriate or concerning, the parent has the discussion with the child/young person re safety and ethics.
  • Families support each other: Do you know that by just being part of a class/school community where values and parenting styles are to a large degree mutually supportive, you have better control over your child’s access to social media and games? When your children go to friends’ houses, they are less likely to be engaged in games and media, and more likely to do socially interactive and constructive things. Also, being part of a community means that things can be discussed and addressed between families. Parents are encouraged to communicate with each other what their expectations are in regard to technology use when playing over at a friend’s place.
  • The technology devices are only used in shared spaces where the content can readily be viewed and supervised by a parent .
  • Balance! Ensure your child engages in plenty of healthy imagination, artistic and physical activity. Quality artistic activity raises our ethical and moral standards, stimulating the mind and engaging the feeling life in a healthy way. Together with physical activity, it is also an antidote to boredom, lethargy, passivity and depression.
  • Parents have the expectation that their children will behave decently in every arena of life (including social media and internet access). Parent set the freedoms and gradually negotiate a handover throughout the teenage years. This is an active and interactive process, not a “they know how I feel,so I hope all will be okay” stance.
  • Install a web filter such as K9 web protection.com. Know where your phone, tablet is.
  • Engage with the Cybersmart.gov.au website; there is excellent information for parents as well as interactive experiences for children and young people that help educate about safe use.

P.S. DID YOU KNOW FACEBOOK HAS AN AGE RESTRICTION – CHILDREN SHOULD BE 13 TO BE ON FACEBOOK AND YOUNGER CHILDREN CAN BE REPORTED.

If your children are on facebook, ensure privacy settings are strictly adhered to. Children and young people need to understand the importance of carefully limiting the personal information they provide online.

The office has a number of excellent free brochures on cyber safety, for parents to take home.

Kindlehill ethos – The Healthy Imagination –extracted from the information booklet.

Television, Computer games. Social Media

The imagination, so vivid and wonderful in the play of the child, is a precious resource. In time, this capacity for imagination, which arises so naturally in every child, can be transformed into creative and flexible thinking, far-sighted vision, and the ‘aha’ of discovery and invention. It can become the artist’s eye for transformation and the musician’s skill for improvisation. It can be transformed into joyful, purposeful relationships with others, with the environment and the world at large. A most precious resource, this imagination! Water is life to the physical body. Imagination is life to the soul.

Let’s protect it, nurture it, and nourish it with all good things. Let’s keep it active and engaged, well nourished, well exercised – a recipe for health.

This then, is why the teachers endeavour to make the school environment “a television/computer game/social media free zone”. We encourage the children to play games from their own imaginations and to keep social interaction in the personal sphere. Generally speaking, children who watch television, play computer games and so on are more likely to play and create out of the ideas, images, and plots they are exposed to. Children who are not influenced by these online scripts and characters, play and create out of their own inner forces of imagination. Television, computer games are very often junk food for the soul – violence, aggression, greed, addiction and competitiveness are common ground. Children who are exposed to these things, ‘play’ them out in their social lives. If we surround children with kindness, with the wonders of nature, we give them the gift of imaginative freedom. Freedom to imagine a world that is peaceful, kind and joy filled.

Parents can support each other and the school in creating and maintaining an environment where there is respect, kindness, and well being for all, by nurturing and protecting their own children’s precious imaginations. As part of this, we request that parents consciously monitor and review, their children’s access to games, internet, television and social media. Class teachers can provide guidance in this regard and there is no shortage of information/studies for self education.

Television,games,social media, prematurely awaken the adolescent desire nature. In healthy children this remains ‘sleeping’ until they are ready and equipped to meet it. If there is one thing that can be done now to smooth the troubled waters of adolescence it is to place clear boundaries around the use of screen technology and social media while your child is young.