Parenting Connection: Top 5 tips to keep kids safe in virtual environments

Parenting Connection

It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: The top 5 tips to keep kids safe in virtual environments.

It’s now time to expand the online safety conversation because the number of virtual environments our kids are now exposed to, and the amount of screen time they’re piling on, are both increasing.
It’s not their fault, and not yours either.

We now Zoom instead of attending a classroom, allow our kids to chat with friends with new video apps and Netflix and YouTube are becoming like family members. Child development expert Kendra Moyses with Michigan State University says, an increase in screen time is understandable during these times, but you still must be smart.

“Kids are doing school online, parents are working online, we’re zooming with family members, so, it’s one of those things where we need to give ourselves a little bit of a grace during this time. I do think, however, it’s still important to look at how the kids are using it. If you need to put them in front of the you tube show, that’s totally fine, just make sure that show is appropriate for them.”

Here are the top 5 tips from the Michigan state university extension in keeping youth safe in virtual environments:

*Learn about all the different virtual environments now available on a computer, tablet or smartphone for your kids — and then understand why they’re drawn to these virtual environments.
*Create some ground rules for usage and participation.
*Consider creating a schedule or journal for your kids to write in, that involves who they engaged with, what they talked about, and any news to share that came up.
*Remind your kids not to share personal information with others, especially in group settings. This includes an address, phone number, and social media screen names.
*Keep the lines of communication open. Talk about their virtual environment engagement, ask questions and listen.

Child experts say, as kids spend more time engaging with others in virtual environments… parents, care givers, and volunteers need to evolve on how to keep them safe because as we are seeing, the world changes quickly and there will always be someone trying to take advantage.

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