3 Mistakes Parents make with tech

3 mistakes parents make with Technology and Online Safety

There are many many things we can do to help keep our kids safe online and there are many ways we can help them get the most out the technology that is available and avoid the  worst of the pitfalls. Last year alone I wrote over 30 posts on keeping kids safe and everywhere there are resources and information to help parents.

But there are also a few things we seem to be getting wrong when it comes to online safety and a positive online experience.

Obviously this is not the case with everyone and certainly there are many getting it more right than wrong.  If we want to continually improve our understanding and hence our relevance to our kids however, then it may be helpful to look at some of the things we can avoid doing in order to improve our understanding of parenting in the digital world.

1) Parents are not always good role models

Some parents answer the phone at the dinner table. Some don’t really hear their kids when they talk as they are engrossed in reading an email. Some take more time photographing the meal instead of truly relishing each bite. Some text and drive. Some get distracted with games and social media and spend hours longer online than they intended. Many parents use technology for work and play and so the boundaries become easily blurred. We must look at what we are asking our kids to do, and check whether we are actually doing that ourselves.

2) Parents forget about much of the good stuff and focus on the bad

It seems that by nature people share more bad news than they do good. We are constantly hearing of the negative things that happen online and parents are often heard relaying these messages to their kids in order to keep them safe. Awareness is certainly a positive. But sometimes we forget all the great things kids are doing. Parents are constantly nagging kids to get off the technology. Telling kids they are addicted. Telling them they are turning in to zombies. They talk of bullying, predators, hacking, privacy, time wasting and trolls. All relevant and real risks. However sometimes we forget to mention all the positive interactions. The friendships rekindled. The mate who moved overseas but can still be skyped. The apps that helps teach our toddler their numbers. The device that allows our visually impaired child to increase the font of a school text book. Or listen to a novel online. We forget about some of the creative videos kids are making and the photos they are having fun editing. We forget about the music they are sharing with friends. The achievements they are sharing with relatives.  The games that can be played between a tween and a parent or sibling. We need to keep abreast of the pitfalls faced by those hanging out online, but if we want kids to listen to our concerns, we also need them to know we recognise the many positive aspects of technology and the online world.

3) Parents make unrealistic rules

We sometimes make rules and place restrictions we often can’t follow through with or be sure are adhered to. Many times I have had parents tell me of how they have banned their kids from Facebook as they don’t want their kids on social media. They often fail to realise that their kids have a Kik account, a couple of different Instagram usernames and a snapchat following. Kids are very good at finding somewhere else to hangout or indeed create accounts parents don’t know exist. Telling a 15 year old child that they can’t use social networking or must limit their technology time to short periods during the day becomes increasingly difficult, if not impossible. They have devices now many of them carry with them throughout the day,  they can connect to free wifi at any cafe or McDonalds and they can upload and delete any app within seconds.  Keeping communication open and honest with your kids gives them a far better chance of enjoying the benefits of social networking without falling prey to the dangers.

So in other words…..be sure to role model the behaviours you want to see in your kids, enjoy the positive aspects of technology with your family and be realistic in your rules and regulations in order to guide and support safe and responsible digital citizens.










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23 Responses to 3 mistakes parents make with Technology and Online Safety

  1. Lucy @ Bake Play Smile January 14, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    These are such great tips! I think you are so right that it’s up to adults to be the role models in regards to technology. Thanks for the post! xx Lucy #TeamIBOT
    Lucy @ Bake Play Smile recently posted…Holiday Snaps!My Profile

  2. Trish January 14, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

    I am so guilty of all three. Thank you for reminding me.
    Trish recently posted…Natural , Sleeping Beauty 10 top tips to better sleep ~ ReDormin.My Profile

  3. Janet @ Redland City Living January 14, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    Very true – I am guilty of tuning out the kids sometimes when they rave on and on and I am trying to get something done on my computer. In my defense – I work from home and shouldn’t be interrupting in the first place – they are 19 & 17 so old enough to know better!

    Visiting today from #teamIBOT xxx
    Janet @ Redland City Living recently posted…Why do we love Kitten D’Amour?My Profile

    • Martine Oglethorpe January 18, 2014 at 10:24 am #

      Yes there is certainly a difficulty when it comes to working from home. If we went to an office each day no one would question the amount of time you worked with your technology at your desk. I guess it is trying to make time to put it away and connect with family as well.

  4. Renee January 14, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

    My kids aren’t at this age yet, but it’s good to be prepared. I like your thoughts about being mindful of how you talk about technology and focus on the positives also.
    Renee recently posted…Ruled by routineMy Profile

    • Martine Oglethorpe January 18, 2014 at 10:27 am #

      Thanks Renee, and trust me it will be here before you know it!

  5. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me January 15, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    This is something I’m working on, less phone and screen time around the kids, trying to praise good behaviour, I’ve become MUCH better at that and it feels great! xx
    Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me recently posted…No point in crying over spilled milk – Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

  6. EssentiallyJess January 15, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    I know I need to set a better example with my phone use. It’s something I’ve been really conscious of this holiday, and I’ve been trying to limit it when the kids are around.
    Thanks for the reminder.
    EssentiallyJess recently posted…Upside Down Upside Down #IBOTMy Profile

    • Martine Oglethorpe January 18, 2014 at 10:31 am #

      Thanks Jess, I think being more conscious of it can make a big difference.

  7. Shari January 17, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    Such true words, Martine. It’s so easy to ignore the benefits of online life and focus instead on the horror stories. And I love the reminder of being a role model for your kids – so essential online and off! x
    Shari recently posted…#Neknomination: taking stupidity to a whole new levelMy Profile

    • Martine Oglethorpe January 18, 2014 at 10:32 am #

      Thanks Shari. And yes offline role modelling certainly just a important.

  8. Laney | Crash Test Mummy January 18, 2014 at 12:26 am #

    Oops, I’m guilty of the first one! Time to sort it out before they start taking too much notice.

  9. Emily January 19, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    Fantastic post. My daughter is 3 so hopefully I don’t have to worry about this just yet – except the modelling. I don’t want her to remember her ENTIRE LIFE that mum and dad were always more interested in their phones than in her.
    Emily recently posted…Top web reads of the weekMy Profile

  10. Annie January 20, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

    I think we are pretty bad at point number 1. I spend a lot of time online, via PC or phone, and I know its a complete waste of time in many instances. And then I tell my kids to get off screens….. So whilst its easy to say my children are a little too addicted to screen time, their father and mother need to lift their game!
    Annie recently posted…Do you know how to put out a campfire properly?My Profile

  11. Lisa Wood January 22, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    I am so guilty of doing everything that I ask my kids not to!! Instead of “Do as I say, not do as I do” I should be making sure that I am the role model for my kids to follow….be the example that they can do!!
    Great tips on the mistakes we make with kids and technology.
    Lisa Wood recently posted…Celtic Woman WollongongMy Profile

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