Cyber Safety Tips for Kids and Families with Joanna and Jodie on 103.9FM The Fish Family Morning Show
- Why your teen should not be expected to respond immediately to parents’ texts and calls
- Bonus link to a guide for grooming your child for cyber safe use of smart devices
One of the main reasons parents decide to equip their child with a mobile phone is the belief that instant communication with them will keep them safer. Nevertheless, while equipping kids with mobile devices makes us feel that our children are safer, if we are not careful to educate and train them about the purpose-driven use of the mobile device it actually poses new risks.
Not surprisingly, last summer HealthDay News reported about a study that found that one third of the 15 to 17-year-olds and half of the 18-year-olds surveyed said they talked on the phone with a parent while driving. And so it turns out that equipping youth with mobile devices so parents can remain in constant contact introduces an ironic risk for serious injury or death by responding to parents’ texts while driving.
See related: What do parental control apps teach your teen?
The big temptation for the modern parent is to believe that you have more control over the circumstances and situations of your child by virtue of the cyber-communications tether via mobile devices when the reality is that teaching purpose-driven use of technology such as devices and safe driving of cars is the security measure our youth require.
Tips to encourage teens to be cyber-safe drivers
- Be clear that you do not expect an immediate response to texts or phone calls when they are driving. Your expectation is that your teen will use good judgment and be a defensive driver, not a distracted driver. By the same token, “I was driving” is not an excuse for ignoring parents’ calls or texts.
- Model the defensive driving behavior you expect from your teen. Do not allow yourself to be distracted and multitask.
- The safest technique is to have your teen put away the phone out of reach while driving.
- Investigate apps that minimize the risk of responding to incoming texts or calls: examples are Otter App and My Phrases Keyboard
Reasons why you would equip your child with a smart device
A better reason to issue your child a smart phone is that your child has a strong sense of purpose for its use, has demonstrated reliability and good judgment in other matters at home and in school, and therefore can be trusted with the responsibility. The ebook, Cyber Rites of Passage, provides a parents’ guide to grooming children for cyber citizenship.
Download ebook: Cyber Rites of Passage -How to establish age-appropriate boundaries for the use of smart devices
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.
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Jodie Stevens, hostess of The Fish Family Morning Show on 103.9FM The Fish offers insights and lessons learned about faith and recovery from addiction. Check out her blog, Genuine Life with Jodie Stevens, weekday mornings on the Family Morning Show.