Early Learning and Elementary Social Media
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January 2022 - Happy New Year!

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Parenting in the Digital Age
Children today are going online at younger ages – which means that parents are getting involved in their digital lives much sooner than they used to. Although you may sometimes feel out of your depth when it comes to technology, as a parent you have an important role to play in helping your kids safely navigate the online spaces and activities they enjoy. 
Four Tips for Digital Parenting
Below are four key tips to guiding your children to safe and responsible digital lives:  

No need to be scared!  You hear a lot of scary stuff about kids and the internet, but the fact is that most kids do just fine. Think of the internet as being like a swimming pool: the best way to keep your child safe is to teach them how to stay safe. 
Talk to your children. What your children need from you is guidance, so they’re prepared to deal with problems before they happen, support from you when things do go wrong, and for you to reinforce these messages by continuing to talk to them as they get older and are more able to make decisions for themselves.
Be a part of your childrens media lives.  
By staying involved, you can keep kids safe and teach them how to use digital technology responsibly. Start by showing interest in the sites they visit and the games they play, and your job will be a lot easier when they start exploring these technologies more independently.
Set rules and communicate values. The internet may seem like the Wild West sometimes, but the rules you set still affect how kids behave online. What’s most important is that your rules are a way of getting across the values you want your kids to live by, that way they’ll keep living by them even when they are grown up and out on their own. 
Respect People’s Feelings
It is important to teach your kids not to be mean or cruel to anyone online. Cruel behaviour can be a part of the culture of some online spaces. One effective way to keep your kids from being mean is to make it one of your household rules for internet use (see internet rules). You can help kids develop empathy and ethical thinking by getting them to imagine how other people might feel: 
How would it feel if someone you thought was a friend was suddenly mean to you online? How do you think one of your friends would feel if they thought you were being mean to them?
Do you sometimes get sad or mad when you‘re losing game? How would it feel if someone was making fun of you for losing, too? How do you think someone would feel if you did that to them?
Respect for Privacy
As soon as children start using the internet, they need to learn to be careful about sharing personal information. Children of all ages need to know that their personal information is private, so they shouldn‘t give it out freely.

Even little things like their favourite kind of cereal helps to build a profile of them for advertisers. Tell your kids to check with you before filling out registration forms and profiles or entering online contests.

Stress to them that they need to tell you right away if anybody online asks them for personal information such as their name, how old they are, where they live etc.
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There are simple steps you can take to protect your child‘s online privacy, including: 

- using browser plugins like Adblock Plus or Privacy Badger; 
- turning off the Global Positioning System (GPS) and Bluetooth on any  portable devices; 
- disabling the microphone and camera on laptops (or covering the camera with masking tape) 

Respect for Property
So much stuff that‘s online is free, it‘s easy for kids to think that everything is free.

Remind your kids that if something looks “too good to be true”, it probably is. No legitimate website will show recent TV shows or movies that are still in the theatre without charging for them. 
As soon as they start using the internet for research, make sure they know that copying anything, even a single sentence, can be plagiarism. If you find out your child has plagiarized an assignment use it as an learning opportunity for them. Make sure that your child understands what they did wrong, and help them create a system to keep a record of all the sources they‘ve used and how to keep them organized.
Think about the messages you‘re sending. Children are most likely to plagiarize an assignment when they don‘t have enough time to do it, or if their teachers or parents send the message that grades are more important than hard work.

When your children start doing more difficult assignments make sure they understand what their task is and feel confident they can do it. Help them plan out a schedule so they can get it done in time and let them know that it‘s important to get an honest mark.
Internet Rules
With younger children, it makes sense to just explain the rules you expect them to follow.
As children get older, rules can change to provide them with an appropriate amount of privacy. Here are some examples of rules that might make sense in your home: 

I will not visit any websites that I think my parents would not approve of. 
I won‘t share my passwords with anyone (except my parents or a trusted adult)  — not even my best friend. 

I will not be mean or cruel to anyone online, even if someone else is mean to me first. 

If I ever get mad while I‘m online, I will let myself cool down before I say or do anything. 
I will not buy things online unless I have my parents‘ permission. 

I will not share anything online that belongs to someone else without their  permission. 

I will never share any personal information about myself, such as my age, where I live, and where I go to school.  
How Much screen time is too much?
For guidelines on screen time usage visit the February 2021 Snapshot - The 3 c's of Media Use Content, Context and the Child

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Early Learning   Elementary Snapshots for 2021
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Sources and Resources

Parenting in the Screen Age is packed with evidence-based insights on screen time from researchers, input from kids and teens, and solutions drawn from the author's own messy parenting struggles, this guide shows you how to start - and sustain - productive family talks about technology.

In the book you'll learn how to:

Bring up screen time without making your child or teen defensive

Talk through difficult issues like online social cruelty, sexting and mental health

Engage your child in creating boundaries around Netflix, gaming and social media

Have screen time limits that actually work - with less of the sneaking or arguing

Read Previous Snapshots Here!
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