Talking about safety on cell phones and devices will strengthen your relationship with your child.
These next 3 steps will help you:
SET BOUNDARIES with your child around devices to keep them safe
Teach your child HOW TO RESPOND appropriately to uninvited texts, photos, or messages
Develop tools to BE YOUR CHILD'S GO-TO PERSON for challenges in the future
1. Educate yourself on the risks children are exposed to when they have regular access to a smartphone or device: Educate Yourself (PDF)
2. Begin some light "starter" conversations with your child about devices, self-esteem, and how devices affect our relationships: Use our Conversation Starters (PDF)
Create and set boundaries for your child's cell phone and devices. To do this, LOOK AT YOUR OWN CHOICES you are making on your cell phone and devices.
A DIGITAL MEDIA CONTRACT is a great tool to use once you have assessed your own digital choices. Remember, though: a contract is only as good as the RELATIONSHIP that binds it. The tools in the next steps will help you strengthen your relationship with your child.
1. Take a look at your own device choices and habits- Take our Device Control Assessment Quiz
2. Set boundaries together by creating your own family digital media contract for everyone to follow - Create My Contract
If your child has access to a phone or a device, they are going to come across DIGITAL RISKS. Risks include: pornography, peer pressure, sexting and sextortion, bullying, and more.
Help your child learn HOW TO RESPOND to these risks in an appropriate and safe way by using our worksheets.
Finally, MODEL APPROPRIATE CHOICES. Your strongest message about safety will come from your child observing you interact with your cell phone and the internet. Do you know what you are teaching them?
1. Review the facts with your child: Educate Yourself (PDF)
2. Practice with your child how to respond - Worksheet for Kids: Ignore, Delete, Respond, Tell An Adult (PDF)
3. Model appropriate choices and habits: Model This, Here's Why (PDF)
When your child has a phone, be prepared to REVISIT your boundaries, digital media contract, and important conversations you've had about risks.
YOU are your child's safe adult when they have a problem or need to talk about something that happened because of their device. Look for different ways to let them know you love and support them, even when they make a mistake.
We also encourage you to talk about SAFE RELATIONSHIPS with your child because they might go to someone else during a difficult time, and we want that person to be safe. Our tools can help you start these conversations.
1. Revisit your boundaries and digital media contract regularly - Create your own digital media contract
2. Affirm your child regularly that they are special and worthy - Download simple cards -OR- Download colorful cards (PDF)
3. Talk about safe relationships - Kid-Friendly Worksheet: Safe Adults (10 and under) -OR- Kid-Friendly Worksheet: Safe Adults (10 and over) (PDF)