Fredericksburg Parent

Winter 2020

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www.FredericksburgParent.NET 33 Ask Permission. Before logging into someone's personal device, ask first and then log back off of the device when finished. Before down- loading an app, tell your child that he needs to discuss it with you first. Personal Accountability Matters. Errors of judgment happen, and kids are still learning. Immediately address the situation together and decide whether they need to craft an apology or remove a comment or photo. Don't Talk to Strangers. Some free texting and gaming apps (e.g., textPlus and Clash of Clans) permit members to connect with other members even if they aren't "friends". Emphasize that exchanging text messages with someone they don't know is the same as talking with a stranger. Often kids don't view texting and talking in the same light. Guard Personal Information. Avoid posting personal information in response from unknown individuals in a chat room or a public forum like: • Email address (don't use your email as a username) • Home address • Social security number • School name • Birthday with year • Photos with geotags (switch off the camera's location tag under privacy settings.) Assume Everything Posted is Public. Texts, images and posts can be saved and shared. Mine the latest news, TV shows and other media for examples that can lead to conversation and empathy- building opportunities. Kids are gener- ally more open to discussing mistakes made by people outside of their immedi- ate circle of friends. Ignore Attacks. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, one in three students has experienced cyberbullying. Tell your kids to let you or another trusted adult know if someone bullies them. Reacting or retaliating generally adds fuel to the fire. If the bullying continues, your child can politely ask the person to stop, report the behavior to the content provider, and/or block the individual. Preserve the evidence and contact law enforcement if your child feels scared or threatened. Check out, a site geared for kids featuring scenarios and text responses to help kids manage cyberbully- ing, dating violence and awkward peer situations like password requests and gossip. Establish Boundaries. Declare certain times of the day, the car or areas of the house as no-phone/no-device zones. At the end of the day, power down and store electronic devices in a central location of your home. Disconnecting periodically allows for more opportunities to con- nect as a family, engage in creative pursuits, get adequate sleep and complete homework and chores. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 72 percent of kids between the ages of 6 and 17 have electronic devices in their rooms. Blame the blue light or incoming message alerts, but kids sleep less if electronic devices are left on, losing up to one hour of sleep a night. Stress That Privacy is Earned. Because you are ultimately responsible for your child's behavior whether online or off, have access to all passwords, check their phones and visit the apps/social media networks they frequent regularly. Pledge Not to Text and Drive. Finally, if your child is of driving age, include a pledge on your con- tract that states a promise that he will not text and drive. Consider watching the 30-minute documentary by Werner Herzog together called "From One Second to the Next" on YouTube. Clearly State Consequences. Consequences could include loss of devices, screen time (except for required schoolwork) and driving privileges. Sign Here. After your child signs the commitment, hang it up near your com- puter or on your refrigerator as family reminder. Review and adjust as needed. X SIGN HERE

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