Whether you have your grandchildren over for a few hours or a weekend visit, it is very important to be aware of how your grandchildren use digital technologies. Learning how to use the latest Internet technologies can become an important tool in interacting with your grandchildren.
A Generation M child could potentially be connected to entertainment media 53 hours per week
According to Kaiser Family Foundation, Generation M (8-18 years old) spend 7 hours and 38 minutes a day using entertainment media. Whether it is through television, computer, smartphone or other electronic device – a Generation M child could potentially be connected to entertainment media 53 hours per week. With the growth of child media consumption, academic work could suffer and behavior problems could arise.
We all have a role to play in ensuring that every child is safe online.
“Whether you are 5, 40 or 75 years old, whether you use the internet once a month or several times a day – each person has something different to bring to the table that can help shape our online experiences and our understanding of online competences and safety. We all have a role to play in ensuring that every child is safe online.” -SaferInternet.org
Grandparents.com offers strong advice on how to keep kids safe online: “These days every parent or grandparent has to teach children how to navigate our very connected world. According to a recent survey by Intel, kids on average start using desktop computers at age five-and-a-half and laptops at seven-and-a-half. So when do adults need to have the tech equivalent of the birds and the bees talk with children?”
So when do adults need to have the tech equivalent of the birds and the bees talk with children?
There are many ways that you can become Internet and computer savvy too! Take Internet classes at a local community college (many classes are offered free for retirees and seniors). Check local resources to see what is offered in your community. There are also many online tutorials available such as The Senior’s Guide to Computers, Facebook for Senior Citizens and Online Computer Tutorials.
4 Internet Safety Tips for Grandparents
- Be aware of parental guidelines – Do your grandchildren have clear rules at home about Internet use? Age-based guidelines for kid’s Internet use by Microsoft is a good place to start. If the family does not have an online safety contract agreement, as a concerned grandparent you could suggest that the parents check it out here.
- Keep entertainment media in the common room – It is much more difficult for an online stalker or bully to communicate with your grandchild when the computer or electronic device is in the same room as you.
- Check Out Where Your Grandchildren Go Online – Ask questions! Don’t fret about being uncool – be curious!
- Keep tabs on entertainment media consumption – How much time do your grandchildren spend connected? Every minute that they spend in your home does not mean that they have to remain connected. Arrange activities that are not always online.
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