TeenSafe’s Digital Parenting Best Practices We Learned in 2017

2017 has been a whirlwind of changes for parents. New smartphones on the market, bullying videos of kids in elementary school going viral, apps promoting new dangers to kids, and more. The year has challenged all of us as a community to be smarter about digital parenting for all of our children. That’s why we at TeenSafe came up with this list of the best lessons we’ve learned on digital parenting this year.

#1. Stop Distracted Driving

A new teen driver on the road can be scary when you’re a parent! With teens addicted to their phones, it’s no wonder that so many fall victim to texting and driving accidents. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study that revealed that 12 percent of all crashes were caused by cell phone use while driving. While that statistic pertains drivers of all ages, the Chicago Tribune reports that only 6 percent of teens ages 16 to 18 believe it’s acceptable to use a phone while driving, but a whopping 34 percent have sent a text or email while driving in the past month.

So what are the best practices that we’ve learned for helping parents combat the issue of distracted driving? The first is to ensure that your kids understand the rules as well as the ramifications of breaking them. As a parent, write out rules for the privilege of driving, also making consequences of breaking those rules clear. Take the time to go over the laws surrounding distracted driving in your state. A safety checklist (like ours!)  is the perfect solution for new drivers in your family.

To prevent distracted driving in your teen take advantage of smartphone apps that are designed to do just that. For instance, the LifeSaver app runs whenever a car is in motion, prohibiting a driver from doing anything besides making phone calls or looking up directions. If a child deactivates the app while driving, parents will get a text notification that they’ve done so.

Preventing texting and driving can seem like an almost impossible task as a parent, but thanks to these best practices, it’s feasible. These are definitely tactics to continue using in 2018 to keep your kiddos safe on the road.

#2. Limit Screen Time

Another topic that can be tough to grapple with as a parent, particularly with teens, is limiting screen time. After all, teens spend a reported nine hours each day consuming media, which is typically more time than they spend sleeping each evening.

It can be easy for kids to get caught up in technology, whether they’re playing games on the computer, browsing social media on a tablet, or texting friends on their smartphones. Luckily, we’ve provided some useful tactics for effectively limiting your kids’ screen time.

As a parent, you’ll want to ensure that you are limiting your child’s exposure to social media and technological devices in order to guarantee that they’re spending enough time studying and completing school work. Besides academics though, it’s important for the whole family to commit to less screen time. Spend more time together with weekly game nights, dinners, and of course when you’re on vacation!

#3. Stay Safe Online

While you want your children to take advantage of the world wide web and everything good it has to offer, we also know that it can be cause for concern. Especially for children that are still learning what digital responsibility means, you want to monitor your children’s online safety. Cox Communications reported that 58 percent of teens don’t think that posting photos or other personal information on social networking sites poses a safety risk and 47 percent of teens aren’t concerned about others using their personal information that is posted online.

Between exposure to predators and the prospect of online bullying, it’s natural for you to worry about your kids’ safety on the net. Maximize their safety by monitoring their browser history, messages, and to utilize location tracking on their devices so that you stay privy to their real-time where abouts.

#4. Create a Smartphone Contract

Out of all the digital parenting best practices, it all comes down to your child having a healthy relationship with their devices. It’s important for you and your kids to come to an agreement on how these devices should be used. For that reason, we suggest utilizing a smartphone contract.

This enforces the idea that using a smartphone is a privilege, and it sets a basic set of guidelines that must be followed in order for your children to earn this privilege. This concept also helps you to be open with your children about monitoring their smartphone usage, keeping the flow of communication open, which is always useful in keeping device usage appropriate and under control.

As you head into 2018, utilize these best practices to help reach your ultimate goal: keeping your children happy and safe. The more proactive you are in monitoring your children’s digital use, the more confident you will be in their constant safety and the easier it will be to help the cultivate healthy digital habits in the long run.

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