The benefits that technology can have on learning are endless. Still, that won’t make you feel any better about the “what ifs” scenarios that occur when children take a misstep. There are ways to find some comfort, but it involves some effort on your part.
Have the safety conversation
We all know about the “sex talk,” but why not have a “tech talk?” Not unlike conversations about the birds and the bees, discuss apps, websites, social networks and online collaboration tools without making it feel too awkward or uncomfortable. Talk about online safety and be honest about the risks. Share your personal experiences with your children. Most importantly, be sure to listen. Make sure it doesn’t become a one-sided conversation where your child doesn’t feel comfortable being open and honest.
Ask for a tech tour
Asking your child to show you some of the tools and apps they use might make you feel like you’re imposing, but more often than not, children are excited to share with their parents when they don’t feel like they’re being indicted for something they didn’t do. Ask them to share with you some of their favorite tools and how they use them inside and outside of class. You can also reach out to their teachers for a list of apps they’re using.
Make sure tools are safe
Safety is the name of the game with any online activity. In addition to talking about safety and getting to know the tools that your child is using, you should ensure they’re CIPA compliant. Ask your child’s teachers and administrators if the software and apps comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). You should also inquire whether the school is implementing additional safety controls and safeguards.
Keeping your child safe is an active task. It is hard to ensure their safety without actually getting involved in what they’ve got going on. Of course, you don’t have to stalk them, but it’s certainly a good idea to be a strong presence in the various aspects of their lives. Stay up-to-date on new trends in technology and keep in close contact with their teachers. The more involved you are with their online activities and use of technology, the more comfortable you will be with their online safety.