5 Media Resolutions Your Family Should Make in 2018
The start of a year is always a great time to discuss parenting issues. And to check to see if we need to make any adjustments to our family media plan. If your family doesn’t have a family media plan yet, now is the perfect time to institute one.
Here are 5 media resolutions your family should be sure to include in 2018.
1. Have device-free times. These include dinner times, family game/movie nights, car rides, etc.
There are many reasons to have device-free times in your home. Numerous research studies are available showing the importance a family sit-down meal plays in a child’s development.
A 2011 study published in American Academy of Pediatrics shows children of families who shared at least 3 meals per week had increased odds of 24% of eating healthy foods and maintaining healthy dietary habits than those whose families shared few or no family meals together.
And, there are a host of other benefits to device-free dinner times as well. Language development, fewer behavior problems, and less substance abuse are all positive outcomes of consistent family dinner times.
Remember, the point of the family dinner isn’t simply eating together. It’s a time for talking about your day and processing events with those who love and support you. A screen, even sitting silently on the table, tells family members they are not your top priority. The positive effects disappear because you’re distracted.
Pro Parenting Tip: Have device down times and engage your children in conversation about technology and social media. Doing so will give you insight into their world.
Check out ideas for device down stations you can make or purchase!
2. Become actively involved in your kids’ media and tech world
Like it or not, technology and social media are part of our kids’ lives. Our role as parents is to guide our kids and give them the skills they need to be responsible digital citizens. It’s important we have clear lines of communication and we model good media habits.
Be sure your family has a family media plan. Encourage kids to behave positively online. Talk to them about what they watch, play, create, and read. Guide your kids to high-quality movies, TV shows, apps, and games. And, make sure your kids understand technology is a useful tool, not a babysitter.
Pro Parenting Tip: Try video-chatting, texting encouraging messages, playing video games, and sharing music playlists with your kids to help you stay connected.
3. Teach your kids how to discern fake news from real news
2017 brought us lots of viral fake news. Sadly, a study by Stanford History Education Group showed us many people can’t determine if what they see online is fake or real. Let’s make it our mission as parents to be sure our kids can tell real news from fake news.
Be sure your kids do their due diligence and pay attention to the domain and URL when reading stories on the internet. Established news organizations typically have their own domain and a look you’d recognize. Sites that don’t look familiar or site URL endings like .com.co should raise a red flag and tip you off that you need to verify the information can be trusted.
You can find more tips for spotting fake news in this short video.
Pro Parenting Tip: Explain how to see through fake news, and teach kids media smarts using current events during family dinner times. Then, set your kids off on an evening project to see if they can spot some fake news.
4. Tighten your privacy
We’re more connected. Unfortunately, this connection puts the privacy and online data of our kids at risk. In recent years, several high-profile companies have settled suits alleging that they have violated the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) by allowing kids’ data to be tracked. Be sure you check the apps and websites your kids use and make sure they are COPPA compliant.
When it comes to our tweens and teens, be sure they understand what information to share and what not to share when posting online. Teach them to read the terms when downloading apps so they understand what permissions they are allowing.
Pro Parenting Tip: Make sure kids understand the privacy settings for all social media platforms they use. Make sure young kids know not to share their personal information with people they meet online.
5. Make your home a place where questions can be asked, and sound advice can be found
Kids love connecting online. The good news is most kids are chatting online with their friends and family, not strangers. Many parents fear “online predatory behavior,” meaning an adult contacting their underage child to “groom” them for inappropriate sexual relationships. However, most experts agree “online sexual exploitation” is a more common risk for teens.
Keep in mind, online sexual exploitation does not always mean sex. It often means talking about sex, sending nude or sexually charged photos and videos, or sending personal sexual information. Texting, chatting online, using messaging apps–it’s all communication.
Our goal as parents is to guide our kids. We need to help them learn how to use technology as an effective tool for communication.
Teach them appropriate usage, and what is not appropriate. Help your kids navigate the sometimes-rocky waters of communication in a public space. And that includes how to handle inappropriate comments regardless of the way in which they are received.
Don’t be afraid to tackle topics like cyberbullying and sexting head-on in your home. Give your kids freedom to share anything and everything with you. Let them know they can do so without fear of your reaction.
And, let them know you’ll always be there to guide them when life throws them a bout of crazy.
Pro Parenting Tip: Brush up on your texting terms and emoji speak. The meanings of emojis change quickly. If you notice your teen and their friends using an emoji or texting term, and you don’t understand the context, look it up. Or better yet, ask your teen.
Have you evaluated your family’s media plan? If so, what media resolutions are you including or adding for 2018?