Today is Safer Internet Day, and we’ll be marking it with a presentation at a PTA meeting in one of our local Nashville elementary schools. Our hope is that every parent would be mindful today of what they can do to create a SAFER Internet experience for their kids. I have parents approach me all the time–in the grocery store, at basketball games, at school functions, you name it–with questions about what they can do to help protect their kids more online. Often those questions are coupled with stories about their kids stumbling upon pornography or other mature content. These incidents motivate parents to take action, and I’m thankful for it. But my hope is that more parents will heed the warnings before the bombs start blowing up in their own family. It’s not a matter of “if” your kid will encounter a dangerous situation online, it’s WHEN.
All of us want our kids to make good choices online. But remember, if they have done something that surprises you or disappoints you online, sometimes it’s the result of them having too much access beyond what their maturity can handle. Our choices as parents must also be wise and responsible, making sure we have rightly judged what they are ready for, and deliberately restricting what they are not ready for . I challenge you today, on Safer Internet Day to:
• CHOOSE to talk to your kids about the dangers and harms of social media, pornography, and bullying.
• CHOOSE to learn more about what technology you can utilize to provide monitoring and accountability for the devices your kids have access to.
• CHOOSE to spend more low-tech time as a family. Get out and enjoy this beautiful non-digital world we live in!