How much do you know about tech and your kid’s education? You might be surprised by some of the common myths and misconceptions that many parents have.
Tech has become a vital part of every kid’s learning experience, especially since the pandemic. But as parents, you didn’t grow up with tech the way that your kids are now, so you might not be aware of some of the best practices and tips to help them succeed.
That’s why I’m here to share with you some of the most important things you need to know about tech to make sure your kid’s school year kicks off right.
Myth #1 – Using parental controls will break your child’s trust
One big thing that parents often worry about is losing their child’s trust because they feel like their privacy has been invaded.
Mother and daughter use a laptop. (Cyberguy.com)
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Kids want to feel like they’re being independent. However, we can’t allow them to have too much freedom online because their curious minds could lead them to trouble.
By explaining the reasons and benefits of using parental controls, you can show your children that you care about their well-being and safety.
By involving your kids in setting up and adjusting the parental controls, you can respect your children’s opinions and preferences.
By having regular conversations about their online experiences, you can encourage your kids to share their thoughts and feelings with you.
The more open communication you have about online use, the more your child will feel that they can trust you and that you trust them.
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Myth #2 – Parental controls will protect your child from adult content
Parental controls will certainly help to reduce the amount of adult content that your child is exposed to. However, you don’t want to rely fully on these features to keep adult content away all the time.
Certain websites and apps will be blocked automatically, yet there might be some platforms out there that the features don’t deem inappropriate for kids that may not sit right with you.
Take a close look at what websites and apps are available to your child with parental controls turned on. If there are any that come to mind for you that are not covered, or if you catch your child exploring a platform that you don’t approve of later on, take the necessary steps to add that platform to the list of restricted places your child can visit online.
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Myth #3 – Your child is too smart to make mistakes online
This can tie into my previous tip. However, it’s worth reiterating that you can raise your child to be responsible and know boundaries, and they can still make mistakes online.
Kids can and will be exposed to a plethora of things online, and if you’re not monitoring them accordingly, they could end up in dangerous situations such as speaking to strangers who they think are friends or making inappropriate posts online just because their friends are doing it.
I’m sure we’re all trying to raise our children to be smart and safe people, and they’re still just kids. So, be sure you’re not giving them the freedom you would give an adult when it comes to their online activity.
Mother and kids use a tablet. (Cyberguy.com)
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Myth #4 – A private social media account is enough to protect your child online
Your child’s social media account, regardless of what platform it’s on, should always be private. This is always the safer option if you allow your child to use social media. Remember, just because an account is private doesn’t mean that it is a guarantee that your child is completely protected from online danger.
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Strangers can always pose as a friend of your child and request to follow them, and your child could certainly fall for that trick and accept the request. They could begin speaking with an adult stranger whom they’re convinced is their friend, which could lead to extremely dangerous circumstances.
Make sure you’re always checking the profiles of those who your child is following and that they’re not messaging any random people.
Private accounts also don’t have child locks on them, meaning that your child could easily go into the settings of their account and change their profile from public to private. Make sure that they are remaining private.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea for you to create a profile on whatever platform they’re using and monitor their posts that way, too.
Myth #5 – Once my parental controls are set, I can forget about them
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Although you don’t have to be checking on your child 24/7, it’s also a bad idea to completely trust the parental controls to do the job for you.
Kids can find their way around parental controls, or they can even malfunction. Technology malfunctions all the time, so to put 100% of your trust in these features would be a big mistake.
If you want to give your child a sense of freedom without feeling like you need to check on them all the time, maybe just take a look at what they’re doing a few times a week. It doesn’t have to be every hour or even every day, however, it should be enough for you to check in on them and catch if something is off.
Myth #6 – A flip phone is a safer option for your child than a smartphone
Flip phones are great if you want your child to just have a safe and simple way of having your child call or text you. However, many flip phones nowadays will still have internet browsers.
Because flip phones have a much simpler build than regular smartphones, it’s virtually impossible for parents to have parental controls on the phone and to be able to monitor their child’s internet activity.
If you can find a flip phone that doesn’t have internet access, feel free to allow your child to use one. If you can’t find one like that, then I suggest getting your child a smartphone that you can monitor their activity and keep them safe.
Myth #7 – Parental controls are foolproof and can’t be hacked by kids
Kids are much more tech-savvy than you think, especially since many of them were exposed to technology from the time they were babies. You might have parental controls set up on all your child’s devices, however, you also have to know the weak spots of those controls for them to be fully effective.
Some of the ways that kids can work around your parental controls include using a private browser, hiding apps they’re not supposed to download, connecting to the hotspot of another device in the house, and more.
Make sure you do a deep dive on this and do your best to have honest conversations with your children about online access so that they don’t feel the need to do things behind your back.
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Myth #8 – Tech is bad for your child’s health and development
Some parents may worry that too much tech use can harm their child’s physical and mental health, such as causing eye strain, headaches, obesity, sleep problems or social isolation.
While these are valid concerns, they can be prevented or minimized by following some simple guidelines. For example, you can limit your child’s screen time to a reasonable amount, encourage them to take breaks and do other activities, adjust the brightness and contrast of the screen, use blue light filters or glasses, and monitor their online interactions.
Tech can also have positive effects on your child’s health and development, such as improving their cognitive skills, creativity, communication and collaboration.
Myth #9 – Tech is only for entertainment and not for learning
Some parents may think that tech is just a distraction or a waste of time for their child and that it has nothing to do with their education. However, this is not true.
Tech can be a powerful tool for learning and can help your child access a wealth of information, resources and opportunities that they may not have otherwise.
Tech can also help your child personalize their learning, engage in interactive and immersive experiences, and connect with others around the world.
Myth #10 – You don’t need to teach your child about tech because they already know everything
Some parents may assume that their child is a digital expert who knows how to use tech intuitively and effortlessly. However, this is a myth. Being able to use tech does not mean being able to use it wisely, safely, responsibly and ethically.
Mother watches and kid on a cellphone. (Cyberguy.com)
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Your child still needs your guidance and support to develop digital literacy skills, such as finding and evaluating information, creating and sharing content, protecting their privacy and security, respecting others’ rights and feelings, and dealing with online challenges and risks.
You can help your child by modeling good digital habits, having open and honest conversations, setting rules and boundaries, and providing feedback and encouragement.
What else can I do to monitor my child’s use of technology?
If you feel like you want to do more than simply have parental controls set up on your child’s devices, there are monitoring programs out there that will help to further protect your child’s safety online.
Child monitoring programs can help keep track of things like screen time, location monitoring, block access to certain apps, and more.
How safe is your child or grandchild? See the 2023 best child monitoring services reviewed.
Kurt’s key takeaways
Tech can be a great ally for your child’s learning, yet it also comes with some challenges and risks. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the common myths and misconceptions that many parents have and to follow some best practices and tips to help your child succeed.
Remember, you are not alone in this journey. You can always reach out to other parents, teachers and experts for advice and support.
Do you agree or disagree with any of the myths? Should kids have technology incorporated into their education? Does it frustrate you that schools are using it more and more? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.
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