In a technology-driven society, the digital world is a living reality. The pandemic pushed us further into this digital world. Not only adults but it has become a reality even for our kids. For two academic years, schools imparted education through online classes. I can’t thank technology enough for that. Moreover, Instagram and other social media platforms have given new dimensions to businesses. At this juncture without embracing the digital world moving forward is next to impossible. We also can’t deny this digital world’s dangers to our kids. How to monitor your child’s digital well-being for a healthier Lifestyle?
Digital Health and Wellness
Before we dive deep and explore ways to keep our children safe. It’s important to understand what is Digital well-being and health. It basically refers to the use of technology to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities. This includes digital tools such as apps, websites, and other digital resources, that are used to track health, manage conditions, and provide support and education to individuals and families.
Why it Matters For Children
In today’s tech-driven world digital health and well-being are increasingly important for children, as they are growing up in a world where technology is ubiquitous. Digital health and wellness assist children to recognize and manage health issues and provide support as well as education to parents, educators, and caregivers. Earlier children did not have access to health and wellness resources like mental health services, nutrition information, and physical activity programs.
How To Monitor Your Child’s Digital Wellbeing For a Healthier Lifestyle?
In this blog post, we are going to explore some of the steps that you can embrace to keep a check on your child’s digital health and wellness. To help them have a better future.
Three Steps to Improve Your Child’s Digital Health and Wellness
1. Setting a Clear Goal
a. Set clear rules and boundaries
As a parent, we need to set clear rules and boundaries for our child’s digital health and wellness. The rules must be age appropriate like the time spent on devices, the type of content they watch, and when and where they watch for example no screen time on the dining table while having meals.
b.Set Reasonable Time Limits
Again this has to be age appropriate if they are using the internet for their school projects or to prepare for some exams you as a parent can be a little liberal. But encourage your child to take breaks and go outside to play or interact with friends. It’s a healthy practice to allow your child one hour or at max two hours of exposure to the digital world.
c.Designate Screen-Free Zones
This is very important not only for kids but parents too. Kids follow their parent’s said or unsaid. Designate a few areas of your house as Screen-free zones like the dining room, bedroom, kitchen, etc. Also, try avoiding using screen time when the entire family is out for some fun. This would help the child to inculcate healthy digital habits and encourage more physical activities as well as face-face interactions.
Understanding the content
a. Talk about appropriate online behavior
It is important to talk to your child about appropriate online behavior. This includes the usage of language that they use to converse and communicate. They should be also made aware of cyberbullying and how it can impact the mental health of others.
b. Monitor the content that your child is viewing
This is of utmost importance what kind of content your child is viewing as it can impact his attitudinal, behavioral & personality development aspects. Watching violent, sexual, or abusive content can bring paramount changes in the child’s behavior. Thus, it’s important to set parental control settings on devices and websites to limit access to age-appropriate content.
c. Utilize Parent Control Settings
Close to 25% of youths spend 5-6 hours online a day, while their parents think they spend only 1-2 hours a day. A more alarming fact is that 86% of youths post personal information online. Keeping track of your child’s online activities can be difficult because being questioned would arouse suspicion.
Here are a few apps that will not only limit access to websites but also help you track and block activities and provide alerts and reports.
- mLITE – Family Phone Tracker – It is a popular cell phone tracking app that allows you to monitor every single SMS, To whom your child calls and receives calls, the location of your child with a real-time GPS tracker, and many more.
- Kaspersky SafeKids – Kids mode has an array of features that provides screen time schedules, summaries of your child’s browsing history, notification of suspicious activities, etc.
- Family Time – A must-have parental control app. This app helps a parent to monitor everything that your child does on his phone. From having a panic button ie. if your child is in danger, to app blocking, SMS tracking, access control, SOS, pick-up alerts, etc.
You can find a detailed list and description of several other Parental Control Apps here.
d. Monitor Social Media Usage
According to the study, “Digital Deception: Exploring the Disconnect between Parents and Kids’, published by the leading anti-virus company McAfree, 92% of the survey respondents, all teens and young adults had at least one social media account. So, it’s very important for a parent to monitor a child’s social media account activities. It’s important to know whom are they following and are in regular touch with. If they follow hardworking, passionate, self-made persons it’s fine as these accounts would definitely motivate and inspire them but not fake or wrong influencers.
Encouraging Positive Habits
a. Teaching them Digital Safety
As a parent, it’s important to ensure that our children are safe while interacting with the digital world. It’s essential to teach them to think before they post and be mindful of their online behavior as it’s going to impact them as well as others. Kids should be made aware of not sharing any personal information on the internet, being aware of online scams, and creating secure passwords.
b. Teaching about Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is nothing but harassing, threatening embarrassing, or targeting another person with the help of technology. It is a growing menace and it’s important to teach our kids about it. Here is the list of helplines in India for Cyberbullying that are helping people combat it.
c.Promote Active Screen Time
We should encourage our children to engage in active screen time activities that involve coding or playing video games which will foster creativity, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking.
d. Build Healthy Connections with Others
People earlier used to mock that virtual friendship is never real but over the years we have found that the digital world is also a great way to build healthy connections and can nurture true friendship in the long run. As a parent, we need to tell our kids to have meaningful conversations with others and that will help them to build healthy connections.
e. Encourage Outdoor Activities
This goes unsaid that physical activities are of utmost importance for any child’s holistic development. It is important to strike the right balance that will ensure a child’s digital wellness as well as his physical health.
We hope that this article helps you to ensure your child’s digital safety and be well-equipped to navigate the digital world. We have tried our best to put forth easy, effective, and practical measures that can be implemented in our day-to-day life.