Keeping Kids Safe Online: Tip 4

Tip 4: Model the online behaviors that you wish to see in your kids. 

We’ve all heard that children tend to do what we do and not what we say. With that in mind, how effective of a parenting strategy is it to tell your kids not to scroll while talking with their siblings, when you may be doing just that at the dinner table? 

In general, when setting rules around online behavior, it’s important for parents to stick to those standards as much as possible, and when that’s not possible, to make sure that children and teens understand why (i.e., “I cannot disconnect from my cellphone right now because I am waiting on a very important call from my boss.”) 

While parents can’t be expected to follow the same internet guidelines as their kids, it is helpful to show that you’ll stick to them as much as you can. ConnectSafely offers some insights for parents thinking about their own online behavior here

Another good way for parents to keep the boundaries around internet use is to establish rules that apply to the whole family and to make sure that adults and older teens are following these rules consistently

As parents, the most powerful way to encourage positive behavior from our children is to model those behaviors ourselves, such as being present and putting devices down during family moments, refraining from scrolling when doing other activities, and avoiding the use of screens before bedtime. 

As kids get older, parents should be especially aware of the content that they post online and the profiles that they follow, as kids are often highly aware of what their parents do online as well. 

In general, a good way to get kids to buy into what you are teaching them as a parent is to model those teachings yourself, especially in regards to online behavior.