ideas, innovations and apps for social work in the age of smartphones and social media 

How to Guide and Guard Children in a Digital World – Kids and Media

As a Social Worker parents will ask you for advice in the use of Internet, Mobile Phones, Gaming, or TV and Movies as they find that their children are using theses media and they often feel challenged by the questions that come with the use of new technology.

kidsandmedia-logoIf you look for resources you can use or you can refer you clients to you may have a look at Kids and Media – the website of a Norwegian non-profit, charitable organisation which gives information and advice about children’s use of digital media like Internet, Mobile Phone, Gaming, or TV and Movies.

The vision of Kids and Media is to see children and teenagers using media with safety and awareness. The main target group is parents. Kids and Media wish to help parents to guide and guard their children in a digital world, different from the media world they themselves experienced as children. Kids and Media seek to support, equip and empower parents and professionals who work with children and teenagers.

To get an impression of the useful content offered by Kids and Media here is a list of 10 tips for parents on how to use mobile phones sensibly:

father-cell-sleeping-child-largeConsider when you are using the mobile phone. You only spend a limited amount of time together with your children each day. Make sure that the children don’t feel that you prioritise a screen rather than them.

• Leave your mobile phone in your car when you pick up your children from school. For children, it can be hurtful if they sense that the parents aren’t fully present in the moment.

• Never use the mobile phone when you‘re watching your child play, say, football, the piano or participate in any other spare time activity. Let the children know that they have your full attention.

• Protect meal times. Remember that your actions serve as an example to your children. If you don’t use your mobile phone during meals, children are likely to do the same.

• Wait until after the children are in bed to get updated on social media, news, current events and so on. The media aren’t going anywhere and quality time with your children is precious.

• Agree on limits for the children’s use of Internet, video games, TV and films. Boundaries help children feel safe and provide them with a predictable everyday life.

• Agree on screen free periods, for example before going to sleep. Children need to downshift before bedtime.

• Be aware of how children use their mobiles during the night. Do they keep it next to them on the bedside table? Make sure they aren’t awakened by incoming texts, or spend hours texting with their friends. For fire safety reasons, the mobile phone ought not to be charging in the bedroom at night.

• Participate and show interest in your children’s everyday media life. “How was your day online?” is a natural question to ask in today’s digital world. Praise children when they succeed at a video game and most children love that their parents play with them. There are many excellent video games, websites, television shows and films that are great to play, visit or watch together. Through dialogue and setting a good example you can provide children with good attitudes, and also get them to talk about unpleasant experiences they might have had, such as being bullied.

• Remember that you are a role model to your children. They learn more from what you do than from what you say.

If you like this you may also be interested in How to hand a smartphone to a child? Sign a contract! … and what the young recipient thinks about it


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This entry was posted on April 12, 2013 by in Apps, Children, Games, Security, Youth and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .
Lutz Siemer

Lutz Siemer

Education, Research & Development in Social Work & IT After working as an alternative practitioner and psychotherapist in private practice for nearly ten years I stepped over to higher education in 2005. At Saxion University of Applied Sciences I lecture and do research and development in the area of Social Work, Psychology and IT. Currently I'm focussing on merging mobile technology and social work.

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