The best way for parents to help their families develop good Internet skills is to have ongoing conversations about what it means to use the Internet in safe, positive, and productive ways. Try these 10 ways to get a good conversation going with your child.
Ask “What would you do?” questions. Some examples could include “What would you do if you knew someone was acting inappropriately online?” or “What would you do if you saw a photo posted that you knew a friend wouldn’t like?”
Be honest. Talk to your kids about your own online life and activities (addiction to social media, web surfing, what you like or hate about social media) and how it has all impacted you. It’s sure to spark a good conversation.
Ask some fun questions they might not be expecting! You could ask them what their favorite Snapchat filter is, for example, or their favorite celebrity to follow on Instagram. Younger kids might enjoy being asked to show their parents their favorite videos or gaming apps.
Play together (and create together)! Ask them to play a game with you that they’ve downloaded or to show you their favorite YouTube video—and you do the same. If you get inspired, you could even create content together, like TikTok posts. You might be surprised what you learn about each other in the process.
Ask for lessons. Have them teach you how to use TikTok or give you tips on good “etiquette” on that social channel, for example. If you have younger kids into games like Minecraft, ask for a tour of their virtual world.
Talk about your child’s virtual learning as it relates to Internet skills and staying safe online. Have they had any issues or incidents since they’ve been learning online?
Use opportunities like time in the car or working on a chore or project together to get a casual conversation going. At times like that, kids can be less guarded and more open, so why not take advantage of it?
Create a conversation journal. Journaling back and forth with your child can make it easier to discuss topics that might be difficult to talk about face-to-face.
Have a date night. Take your child out to her favorite restaurant and have some one-on-one quality time with her. Once she is warmed up, you can bring a tech talk topic into the conversation.
Discuss media literacy and fake news. Teach your child to look for good sources and to read beyond eye-catching headlines. One fun method: Show examples of fake stories and altered photos, then compare them to the news from reputable sources.