As a mom of four, creating a safe internet environment is very important to me. Knowing where to start can be tricky, so I’m sharing some tips and resources for you to help kick off Safer Internet Day. C’mon with me and let’s be internet awesome!
Disclosure: this is a sponsored post to share information about Safer Internet Day and Google’s Family Link. I’m working with Mom It Forward Influencer Network, yet all opinions are my own.
Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I was in that sweet spot where we had some access to internet and technology, but it hadn’t taken over the world yet. Raising my kids in this new world is a learning process, for sure. Setting up rules and educating ourselves is super important for me and my husband.
Luckily, there are so many resources available from trusted sources, especially Google. Since February 5th is Safer Internet Day, I thought I would share some great information for you and your families! I love their “Together is Better” slogan.
My biggest tip when you have kids is to set up boundaries. Our girls know exactly what they can be doing online and that an adult needs to be present. We don’t allow the girls to use iPads alone in their rooms or without us knowing what they are viewing. Even sites you think are safe (YouTube kids!), have dangers.
Tip one: guide them to good content.
We have approved programs that my girls, twins aged 10 and 7, use from school. I know that we can trust the content and set the apps or websites up accordingly. Right now iReady is our go-to, especially since they use it in the classroom. Also Raz-Kids and CloudLibrary, available from our local library, are great.
A couple times a week, I go through and monitor everything on the iPads and laptop. Even if I’m present, the kids can still accidentally click on something inappropriate. Olivia was innocently looking for a scene in her favorite Harry Potter movie, but the search brought up a Sims video that was NOT. We had a conversation right after and she now knows that we need to help with searches.
Tip two: set up time limits.
Even if they are playing educational apps, limits are necessary. My girls can earn bonus screen time from a chore list I’ve created. Unloading the dishwasher grants a pass for 5 extra minutes during the week. It’s a win-win for us!
The Google app Family Link makes monitoring everything super easy. It’s a must for us.
Tip three: keep it fun!
While I want the kids to know about the dangers of the internet, I don’t want to scare them away from having fun. Since I’m a digital influencer, they see me online having fun all of the time. They love to participate in Facebook Live cooking sessions or fun filters on Instagram.
Ask your teacher or librarian for apps that are fun and educational. It’s nice for the kids to have a balance! If we are making a new recipe, I let them search on Pinterest with me to find something (hopefully!) delicious.
Tip four: update age appropriate apps frequently
Since my twins are headed toward the preteen stage, it’s good to keep their brains bursting with knowledge. With all of the questions they ask us daily, it’s great to have apps that are age appropriate to keep them entertained. We have also recently jumped on the podcast bandwagon for the kids. Brains On is so fun!
Adjusting online expectations with age is essential. Obviously, once Liam starts using the iPad as a toddler, his rules are much different than the twins at 10. Updating age appropriate apps and websites keeps the knowledge flowing.
Tip five: use the great resources Google offers!
Since Google is a resource I know and trust, I love getting information from them. Check out this amazing families site that just launched. It’s packed full of great information for the whole family. I just downloaded the guide to go over with the family this weekend. We’ve recently gained a hand-me-down laptop and I want to make sure it’s set up properly for us!
I know my girls will love Interland, which is a game that makes learning about digital safety fun. In the end, they will learn how to become good digital citizens.