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3. Parental Controls and Supervision Options

Setting Limits

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3. Parental Controls and Supervision Options

1. Parental Controls and Supervision Options

  • Parental Controls Summary This PDF summarizes parental control settings. It includes links to specific instructions on how to use parental controls and settings on gaming consoles, devices, accounts and networks.

During our workshop, we delved into the crucial role of parental controls in safeguarding young children in the digital landscape. It’s important to remember that parental controls are effective for younger, pre-literate kids who are just beginning to explore the digital world. Parents can use these tools to curate a safe online environment, ensuring their children’s exposure to age-appropriate content.


2. Family Digital Wellness Agreement 

As kids grow into tweens and teens, parental controls may become less effective. This transition is a significant turning point as young individuals develop their own interests, and peer groups, navigate social platforms independently, and gain digital literacy. Therefore, fostering open communication, educating tweens and teens about online safety, and establishing trust-based relationships with them become equally crucial. While parental controls remain a valuable tool, they are most effective when used in conjunction with active dialogue and guidance tailored to the evolving needs of older children in the digital age.


3. Reporting Online Abuse, Harassment and/or Exploitation

It is of paramount importance that parents not only understand how to report abuse online but also actively teach this skill to their children. In today’s digital world, where online interactions are an integral part of young lives, the ability to recognize and report abuse is a critical life skill. Children and teens may encounter various forms of online harassment, bullying, or inappropriate content, and knowing how to report such incidents can help ensure their safety and emotional well-being. By teaching their children how to report abuse and supporting them in doing so, parents empower their kids to take control of their online experiences. This knowledge also reinforces the message that children can confide in their parents when they face challenges in the digital realm, promoting open communication and trust within the family. Ultimately, equipping children with the tools to report online abuse is a proactive step in building a safer and more secure online environment for them.\

Parenting Strategies for Online Safety
  1. Establish Family Media Use Agreements that set up household rules and expectations for device use and online access before children get devices. Children and teens don’t have the impulse control or risk management skills of adults, nor can they imagine the consequences in the future. Set Screen time limits for children and teens. Advice: age restrictions, delay having their own device; share username & passwords) and set time limits on devices to ensure on/offline balance

    1. Assess your child’s digital literacy before they get a device. Know when to give your child a device. Do a quiz and do an assessment online to see if your child is ready for a device. 


  2. Abide by age restrictions for apps and games—only buy age-appropriate games for your home:

  3. Use parental controls on devices, apps and games for pre-teen children. This starts good habits early and gives you a chance to stay aware of what they are doing online. They are not 100% effective, but they help to set standards and rules. Start with awareness! Begin to track, the amount of time your children and you spend online each week using built-in settings. Have a conversation about how everyone feels about how much time they are spending online.

    1. Apple’s Families: Features and Details  

  4. Control the family network access

    1. Have tech-free zones and experiences in your home and with your family.

    2. Have rules about no screens at mealtimes, no screen time for 60 minutes before bedtime or no devices while driving to and from school or on family vacations?

    3. No screens in bedrooms: No computer, phone or game console in their room at night

    4. Turn off devices and have no screen time for an hour before bed

    Know how to report concerns about cyber abuse, sexual exploitation or manipulation. 5. and practice reporting harassment, abuse or sexual images:

    1. PREVnet for Parents, Cyber Tool to teach your kids to be safe and ethical online 

    2. Cybertip Ca, Canada’s tip line to report the online sexual exploitation of children  

  5. Be a positive online role model for your children

    1. Don’t ignore your children, or anyone, for a device during family time

    2. Share/send your children to positive websites, games or trends. Share the positives and develop digital citizenship together

    3. Steer them toward pro-social, positive games

    4. Provide positive gaming options

  1. Have values-based conversations with your children about online conduct, events and trends. Talk with them about how they feel about their experiences. If they’ve ever been scared? Sad? What was the best thing ever? Share your values, views and concerns about online pornography with your children, tweens and teens.

    1. Observe your child while they are online

    2. Find out details about their game; express an interest in their internal world

    3. Provide 7-10-year-olds with inoculating experiences about online sexual images so they are prepared—use scripts, role play or stories. Get ahead of the issue.

      1. Good Pictures, Bad Pictures, by Kristen A Jenson (author), Gail Poyner (author), Debbie Fox (illustrator)   

    4. Clearly inform pre-teens of the legal consequences of sexting. Make sure they know how to report issues:

    5. Provide reputable, reliable information about sex and sexual health to children and teens at age-appropriate levels: 

      1. The Walrus, Sex Ed: Beyond the Classroom, children

      2. Provide teens with medically and academically reliable online information to meet their curiosity. Sexual Health links for teens:

        1. What's a Boner? Facts about puberty for boys 

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