The CASASC education team would like to share some mini-edu lessons about Internet safety and media literacy over the coming weeks for parents and their children.
Respect is very important to our organization and learning how to be respectful in the digital world will help youth become more empowered and informed citizens. They will be better able to problem solve and safely explore what is going on online. Below is a question a parent asked us during our last Social Media Takeover.
Parent Question: How do I set rules or expectations for my youth’s Internet usage? How can I monitor what they are doing online to make sure it is appropriate?
Wow, what great questions.
Parents naturally want to be aware of what their children are interested in and what they are viewing online. Research suggests that youth do want their parents to help set expectations and guide them to know what right or wrong behaviour is. Students whose parents set up boundaries and instill values of being respectful online were more than thirty three percent less likely to be rude or mean to others online (1)
The Canadian website MediaSmarts has many resources to help parents and youth develop more confidence regarding internet usage. MediaSmarts suggests the following tips to help develop rules and expectations around Internet use:
- Be judgement free and have open communication
When your child knows they can talk to you about anything without judgement, they are more likely to come to you when they have a problem online. Sixty six percent of youth who came to their parent with an online issue felt better afterwards (1)
- Explain the reasoning behind a rule or expectation
When youth know why you are setting an expectation or rule, they feel better about following them. For example, you may say no devices in the bedroom at night, or no being online after 10 pm, because research shows youth need sleep in order to physically grow and be mentally, emotionally and academically well (2)
- Make Respect, or the Golden Rule, the highest expectation
When respect — treating others how you wish to be treated — is the highest expectation while being online, youth are more likely to think about what they post or say online and share what they expect of others online. This creates a safer online environment for them.
When it comes to knowing what your children are doing online, the best way to find out is to ask them. Have them show and explain the social media and websites they are using. Set aside a time to look online together. This will not only let you see what your child is doing online, but it will also help you feel more connected to your child and increase quality family time together.