Letting your young child or older kids explore social media, browse the internet, and connect with friends also means possibly exposing them to some of the dangers that come with digital freedom.
Too many parents take the route of blocking their kids from downloading apps, restricting their internet access, and enforcing screen time limits.
If you're new here, you should probably know that that's not the parenting approach we encourage. We're all about involvement over limitation.
To be involved, you need to be taking the time to have conversations with your kids, especially about the more sensitive topics they may encounter online.Studies have shown that the majority of parents are neglecting to cover these topics with their kids. But, in this day and age, avoiding these conversations doesn't keep your kids from learning about these topics, it just makes it more likely that they will learn about them on their own through social media or when browsing the internet.
We believe in allowing your kids the freedom to explore, letting your kids learn from their mistakes, and continuing to have open conversations about the content they may come across and how they can prioritize their own well-being.
All parenting styles can benefit from this type of open communication as it can create meaningful relationships with your kids!
Being a parent means you are responsible for raising a well-informed, responsible individual, there's no time for feeling awkward.
As they continue to grow up, it's important to have crucial conversations with your kids about all kinds of things, including sensitive subjects like sex, drug abuse, online pornography, violence, bullying, mental health disorders, etc.
Now, we know these conversations can be uncomfortable, or you may not know how to frame these topics in a way that makes sense to your kids. We also know that parents don't have all the answers, and that's okay.
Good parenting is about knowing that you won't handle everything 'perfectly' but you're willing to problem solve your way through it.
Be honest and open up about your own mistakes. You can then use these to inspire discussion or let your kid know that you’ve been there too. This shows that you're capable of having a better understanding of what they're experiencing.
It won't always be easy for you to initiate these conversations, but you'll be a better parent for it. Your child will most definitely benefit from these 'awkward' talks and grow up knowing how to stay safe and well-informed.
Before the internet, it was easier to control when your child would encounter certain types of content, and parents were able to decide when they felt it was the appropriate time to teach their children about the more mature or heavy topics.
However, with social media and the bottomless pit that is Google, kids are being exposed to a whole range of content earlier and oftentimes, not on purpose.
This is why parents need to take a proactive approach and talk with their kids about these difficult subjects, especially if they are exploring social media.
So as soon as you can, find a good time to talk. Children are more open to difficult subjects when they are in a comfortable environment, so make sure to wait until you're both in a calm mindset before opting for a deep conversation.
Make sure they are comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with you when something happens, no matter what the problem might be.
Yes, these conversations are so that you can provide your good parenting advice and promote positive behavior, but a huge part of it is understanding your child's perspective. And you can't do this if you aren't spending time listening.
If your child is having a tough time with something online, don't ignore it.
By actively listening, you can better help them find ways to deal with the situation. Try not to give one-word responses, but rather ask questions that allow them to talk about what they think or feel about the topic.
Every child is different and therefore deals with things in their own unique way. It's not your job to figure out their problems completely but to create a safe place where they can openly communicate with you.
Once again, these conversations won't always be easy. The most productive ones might be the most difficult. You may find out that your child has been exposed to or has been interacting with sensitive content that you weren't aware of.
(Cough, cough maybe look into monitoring this activity with the best phone for kids... Aqua One!)
If this is the case, try not to react negatively but keep the self-control to calmly understand how they found themselves in these situations and how they are feeling as a result.
Don't make assumptions without talking about it because it might make the problem worse. If you suspect something else might be going on, don't ignore that either.
For example, if they tell you they've been seeing TikToks that are telling them to starve themselves, make sure to check in on their self-esteem. If they tell you that their friends have been bullying a kid at school on Instagram, have a talk about what it means to be a bystander or if they are involved in the bullying, how to put a stop to this behavior.
Your child's behavior and your child's development rely heavily on how their role models handle situations and react. Be sure to teach them that it is okay to make mistakes as long as you make an effort to not make them again.
In order to continue having a relationship with open communication, be sure to teach your child when it's a good time to have these talks.
As much as we would like it, you can't always know what's going on in your child's life.
You can check-in as often as possible but sometimes, they will need to be the ones to come to you. By setting the expectation that they should come to you when anything comes up that they feel unsure about or uncomfortable with, you can eliminate what goes on behind closed doors.
In the long run, they will continue to develop good habits and good behavior because they are able to rely on you for guidance and support.
As a parent, having deep conversations with your kids helps you and them learn more about what they are thinking and feeling. You can learn more about your kids' interests, how they're interacting with other children, how school is going, their friendships, etc.
But most importantly, especially in this digital age, how they are spending their time online.
You have the absolute right to know what your children are doing in the virtual world. As an involved parent, you should remain informed about any dangers they might face so that you can provide the necessary support and guidance.
When they come to you with questions or concerns about something they saw online, you are prepared to have these conversations. If you're actively monitoring their activity with Aqua One, you can initiate these conversations based on the insight you have access to.
Powered by machine learning and AI, our software is designed to look for potentially concerning content accessed on your kid’s Aqua One.
Our Alerts software is currently responding to images and videos. At this moment, we’re working on text detection and hope to add it in the near future. If there is certain content or interactions that you want to know about, we encourage you to regularly check your activity feed and have open conversations with your kid.
Our Mental Health Check feature provides you valuable insight into the emotional and environmental factors that may be affecting your child's well-being.
With questions created by clinical child psychologists, your child is able to become aware of how they are feeling and you are able to see what is positively or negatively impacting their mental health.
Remember, you are their rock when they aren't able to stand on their own two feet. Giving them advice when they need it, being their conversation partner, or just listening is all that's necessary.
Parents should always be thinking about how to keep their children safe online. By having open communication with your children, you can have a difficult conversation in a way that is comfortable for them and yourself.
These tough conversations will ultimately strengthen your bond and create a more transparent relationship between you and your child. And you will feel proud watching your child blossom into the amazing and responsible person they were always meant to be!