Our top tips:
- Delay letting your child have sole use of a smartphone or tablet for as long as possible, but at least until Grade 7;
- Apply the principle that smart devices are “loaned not owned”;
- Agree a cell phone contract with your child;
- Know what social media apps or games your kids and their friends are using;
- Guide them on what is age appropriate and what they should NOT be using. Block websites, apps and games that are not age-appropriate – for their safety and sanity, both now and in the teen years coming.
- Monitor and filter which apps and games they download;
- Delay social media for as long as you can (the experts recommend till 16), but definitely until high school, keeping in mind that –
o Instagram tops the list of social media apps for cyberbullying;
o Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat are real age rated 15+ for important reasons, teen mental health, predator access and pornography being prime;
o There is no reason at all that tweens and teens should access anonymous, hook-up apps, where they can chat to strangers.
o There is no “soft porn” online, it is (nothing like dad’s Playboy mags) XXX-rated and easily accessed through all social media apps and pop-up ads in many games;
- Teach them to THINK before they post – is it: