Going Online and Offline with Your Tween

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Helping your tweens to use technology and the internet safely and wisely.

We live in a hyper-connected world where technology is an inevitable part of our daily lives. We use tech tools for work and play. A 2014 survey by the Infocomm Authority of Singapore showed that most Singaporean households have internet access and increasingly use their smartphones to go online – turning to the internet for communication, leisure and also as an information source.

It’s no surprise then, that today’s children are digital natives who have fully embraced technology and the internet, using it in every facet of their lives. Your tween might post a selfie, ponder her breakfast menu and chat with a few friends – all online, before she even emerges from her room in the morning.

Here are some ideas on how you can guide your tweens to manage their tech use and make it a positive tool for the family.

Get clued in about tweens and technology

While parents are technology and internet users themselves, it’s important to recognise that adults often use these tools quite differently from tweens. Even relatively tech savvy parents who frequently use email and social media can be heard complaining that they don’t understand much of the ‘text-speak’ used by their kids, and they might even be unaware of their online activities.

Keeping abreast of the latest games, internet applications, lingo and online trends that are popular with tweens is a necessity and doesn’t have to be a tedious process. A quick internet search will bring up articles and research on the topic for your easy reading!

Set boundaries and teach netiquette

Perhaps the biggest concern that parents have is the lack of control over what their children access online, or being unable to protect them from undesirable influences. In addition to online bullies and sexual predators, there is the possibility of coming across gory or pornographic images.

teens and technology

While most websites and social media apps offer a channel to report improper use, the sheer volume of internet traffic results in much of this unsavoury material remaining online. Thus parents need to proactively set boundaries around tech and internet usage, and teach their children proper netiquette to ensure their online safety. These are some ideas you can use:

  • Use age-appropriate filters to all internet-enabled tech gadgets including smart phones, smart TVs and computers.
  • Consider shifting shared family devices like desktop computers to a communal area, where your teen can be loosely monitored, without you actually hovering over him or her.
  • Have a chat about online safety with your teen. Discuss what information they can reveal online, what should be withheld, in order to protect their privacy.

More useful tips on how to handle tweens and technology… on the next page!

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