There are so many new devices, social media sites and apps to keep up with, and it can certainly be overwhelming. Talk with your child about the technology they use, and try it out for yourself. Depending on what you find, don’t be afraid to set tough limits. Remember, your overall goal here is to raise a digitally responsible citizen. Children and teens may not fully realize the future repercussions for what they post, snap and share, so it’s important to help them learn how to use technology safely and responsibly.

Internet

It can be hard to cut down on screen time as more school districts are opting for tablets in the classroom. But just because your teen’s homework requires an electronic device does not mean that you have to relinquish your responsibility as a parent. Set limits on when your child can use their device for fun, and if they can study without their device, keep it with you so that they can focus on schoolwork and not Instagram. Once you have set guidelines, make sure that everyone, including you, follows them.

Social Media

Whether it’s Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat, our teens are using social media every day to communicate with classmates, friends, teachers and the world. Talk to your teen about which sites and apps they like to use, and then research them for yourself. Whenever you decide which sites and apps you feel are appropriate, remind your child to always use them in a safe and responsible manner.

Cell Phones

If your teen or preteen uses a cell phone, tablet, or even a gaming device that takes pictures and is connected to the internet, they can sext or access pornography. Sexting is sending sexually explicit photos/images, text messages, or emails using a cell phone or other device. It is the newest form of pornography to invade your teen’s life. It also puts your child at serious risk of committing a crime. Most kids don’t know sexting is against the law… until there’s a problem. Then it’s too late. Tell your teen that a naked or suggestive picture taken and sent can never be taken back and they lose control of it forever. It’s out there for all to see including all of your teen’s friends, their boss, their teachers, and even their future spouse.

Gaming

The video game industry is dominated by three major systems: Sony Playstation, Microsoft XBOX, and Nintendo Wii. All three have different features, but they share many of the same abilities, such as allowing users to connect to the internet, send text messages, video chat with other gamers, and share content online. Set parental controls before your child ever picks up a controller.