Avondale Primary School is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people in its community. We recognise the importance of teaching children to develop Cybersafe practices at a young age. As such, we recommend that parents too familiarise themselves with practices that are safe, secure and conducive to a safe online environment. This will ensure that education of cybersafe practices is consistent between school and home life; which is essential for consolidation of understanding and skills.
Digital Discipline: Five Ways to Foster Healthy Tech Habits in Kids
In this digital age, the virtual landscape is as much a part of our children’s environment as the physical one. Just as we teach our kids to navigate the complexities of the real world, it is crucial we guide them in developing healthy digital habits. This guidance will help them harness the positive aspects of technology while safeguarding their mental and emotional wellbeing.
Tip 1: Set a Tech-Free Zone
One of the most effective strategies to foster healthy tech habits in our children is to establish tech-free zones and times. For example, make the dinner table a phone-free area to encourage conversation and connection. Also, ensure bedrooms are screen-free at least an hour before bedtime to promote better sleep. This not only helps in reducing screen time but also in reinforcing the value of personal interaction and the importance of rest. Tech-free zones also support cyber safety and help protect children against online abuse – reducing or eliminating spaces where children may interact online without a trusted adult nearby.
Tip 2: Be a Digital Role Model
Children imitate what they see. If they constantly observe their parents glued to screens, they are likely to emulate that behaviour. Make a conscious effort to put away your devices during family time, and engage in offline activities together. By showing them the joy of reading a book, taking a nature walk, or playing a board game, you reinforce the idea that life beyond screens is rich and fulfilling.
Tip 3: Engage in Digital Education
Use technology as a tool for education and creativity. Encourage your children to use their screen time to learn something new, like a language or a musical instrument, or to create something, such as digital art or coding projects. This will not only make their screen time more productive but also teach them to view digital devices as tools for personal growth rather than only for entertainment.
Tip 4: Cultivate Self-Regulation
Empower your children to build self-regulation skills in their digital engagement. Discuss with them the importance of self-awareness regarding their screen time and its impact on their mood and behaviour. Together, create a ‘Digital Use Agreement‘ that includes time limits, types of permissible content, and self-monitoring strategies. Encourage them to take breaks when they feel overwhelmed or after a set time. When they adhere to these guidelines, praise their discipline. Over time, they’ll learn to manage their digital consumption independently, making responsible choices that align with their wellbeing.
Tip 5: Promote Unplugged Time
Encourage your family to embrace ‘unplugged time‘, where everyone disconnects from their devices to engage with the world and each other. Whether it’s a designated evening each week or certain hours during the day, this practice helps children appreciate activities beyond the digital realm. You can fill this time with group activities like puzzles, outdoor adventures, or quiet reading sessions. This commitment to regular tech breaks will teach children the importance of balance and the joy of life’s non-digital pleasures.
A great place to start is Global Day of Unplugging. Join in as families across the world unplug from technology for up to 24 hours and take the opportunity to reconnect with the offline world instead. Feeling inspired to unplug to reconnect? You can find out more or sign up to participate below.
For more information about Cyber Safety please visit https://cybersafetyproject.com.au/families/
Key strategies to keep kids safe online (Developed from eSafety and Alannah &Madeline Foundation recommendations)
Be engaged, open, supportive and inquisitive about your child’s digital life
Set rules and be part of your child’s digital life
Use the available technology
Further resources can be accessed here:
The ever changing nature of the internet can pose challenges for many parents. iParent (link below) provides online safety resources targeted to the specific needs of parents and carers.
Click on the link for access to an eSafety guide to games, apps and social networking. This site includes links on how to report abuse on social media sites.
Seven internet tips to keep your children safe online – By Frances Archer (Generation Next)
Like many parents with young children, I wondered how early and how often my young daughter should be on the computer. The advice experts’ offer was both surprising and reassuring.
1) Its almost never too early. Although the American Academy of Paediatrics recommends no computer usage before age two, by age three many children are active on the computer.
2) Be first to introduce your child to the computer. Today preschools are using computers, so start positioning yourself early on as the authority over computer usage in your home. Kids also encounter computers during play dates in friends’ homes. Every family has their own rules, so make sure your child understands your rules. You may, for example, want to tell your young children they’re allowed to play on a computer only if a grownup is in the same room.
3) Teachable moments. Use your computer to teach children boundaries. Setting time limits and making rules like always wash hands first and take turns help your children to learn to follow rules in any context, not just in regards to computers.
4) Together time. Placing your computer in a shared space like the family room establishes an early pattern of parental authority and allows you to monitor your children’s online activities. When your kids are young, interact with them by playing online games and visiting some of the many wonderful educational sites.
With older children, it’s important to regularly discuss the websites they’re visiting. Ask them to share their favourite ones with you. Discuss the accuracy of online information sources. Find common interests you can pursue together online. Be sure to make your full access to their accounts a condition of their joining social networks.
5) Become more tech savvy than your kids. If you’re not already computer literate, ask a friend to teach you. Or maybe there’s a teenager in your neighbourhood who you could hire to tutor you. You can also find online tutorials. Learn how to use Facebook or My Space before your kids do, so when they join these social networks, you can monitor their online social activities.
6) Online social networking starts earlier than you think. Those cuddly critters with codes attached? They’re your child’s first foray into online social networking. Some social networking sites geared to children—Webkinz, for example—don’t reveal names, emails or other personal information but others may not have as many safeguards. Get familiar with children’s sites before introducing them to your child.
7) Bullies and predators. The same guidelines that apply to protecting your children from bullies and predators in real life apply to cyberspace. Not surprisingly, online bullying may be the more common threat. Taking precautions like following your children’s online social networking and keeping in touch with the parents of your children’s friends will help keep you aware of potentially harmful situations