To complement the cyber wellness curriculum in schools, parents can set a good example at home in the use of technology and play an active role in guiding our children to navigate in cyberspace. Here are the steps for PARENTing in the digital age:
Provide opportunities for a variety of offline activities
o Spend time with your child by carrying out family activities such as sports and outdoor activities so that your child has a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Activate parental controls in all computing devices
To setup parental controls in Apple devices:
o Turn On The iPad's Restrictions. Go to Settings > General > Restrictions and tap Enable Restrictions. Every time you do this you'll be asked to set a 4-digit passcode and enter it a second time. Be sure it's something you can remember but your kid won't figure out.
o For more information, please visit http://support.apple.com/en-sg/HT201304
Role-model good digital habits
o Manage your own digital habits such as avoiding extensive use of technology and avoiding use of technology during meal times.
o Show your child safe, responsible and respectful behaviour when sharing, collaborating and creating online.
Establish the ground rules for internet use
Some basic rules could include the following:
o seek permission before using computing devices
o have a time limit for the use of computing devices
o practice netiquette on the Internet
o respect intellectual property right
o Access websites that have age restrictions (for e.g. many social media sites have age limit for setting up accounts to comply with international regulations on children accessing social media).
o share password with others
o share personal information online
o meet strangers face to face without parents’ knowledge
o spread rumours and say mean things online
Navigate the internet with your child to understand his/her user
o Surf the Internet with your child so that you know what he/she does online and whether he/she is involved in age-appropriate activities. This will help to hone your child’s skills to translate his/her understanding into actions which he/she can later apply should he/she face similar situations.
o Highlight to your child not to respond to anyone who says something inappropriate and he/she should immediately leave any site if he/she feel uncomfortable.
Talk with your child about his/her internet use
o Get your child to share with you his/her favourite online websites, things he/she do online and what is cool amongst his/her friends.
o Talk to him/her about his/her online experiences. (For example, discuss about the benefits and risks of the Internet, share how people connect and communicate with one another through the Internet).
o Let your child know that it is alright to ask you questions or talk to you if he/she run into problems with someone online.
o Download the C-Quest game app, which facilitates conversation between parents and children on cyber wellness, from the iTunes Store / Google Play.